BRUNEI DARUSSALAM: Access to justice for children

This report is part of CRIN's access to justice for children project, looking at the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in national law, the status of children involved in legal proceedings, the legal means to challenge violations of children’s rights and the practical considerations involved in challenging violations.

Brunei has acceded to the CRC however the Convention is not considered part of national law and cannot be directly relied on in the courts. It is not clear whether it is possible to challenge a human rights violation in the civil courts. There is no form of judicial review in Brunei and no mechanisms to challenge the validity of legislation. Children accused of crimes are tried in specialised Juvenile Courts, presided over by magistrates, however they are liable to be sentenced to corporal punishment, life imprisonment and potentially the death penalty. There is no form of legal aid, except in relation to offences carrying the death penalty. Children may appear as witnesses unless they are too young to understand the questions presented to them. Young witnesses may be excused from giving oath, but in such case any evidence provided by them would need to be corroborated.

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