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.
As a ratified international instrument, the CRC forms part of domestic law and can be directly enforced in the courts. Furthermore, its provisions are given precedence over conflicting provisions of national law. In the context of civil proceedings, children are able to bring proceedings alone, if they are deemed to have the capacity to do so, or through a representative acting on their behalf, where such capacity is lacking. In criminal law matters, the law permits children of 16 years of age or above to submit a private criminal charge without assistance, whereas children below that age can do the same only with the assistance of their legal guardian. Croatia adopted a new law in 2009 which makes provision for full or partial legal aid, allocated depending on the applicant’s financial status, in matters concerning the protection of children and young adults. Such financial assistance is available to children who hold Croatian citizenship as well as foreign children without a parent or legal guardian, however, the procedural requirements make it difficult for unassisted children to apply.