DENMARK: 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.

The Kingdom of Denmark ratified the CRC in 1991. The CRC does not take precedence over national law, although Danish courts must consider all binding international conventions, including the CRC, where there is an apparent conflict with, or ambiguity in, relevant national law. The CRC cannot be directly enforced in Danish courts, as it is has not been directly incorporated into domestic legislation. Children or, where age requires, their legal representatives are entitled to bring civil cases in Danish courts to challenge violations of their rights. The National Council for Children is presently unable to receive individual complaints from children, but complaints may be lodged with the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, in which an child rights department was  established in 2012. An individual may be eligible for state-sponsored legal aid for court proceedings. The Constitution of Denmark contains only one specific reference to the rights of the child as distinct from the rights of other citizens, which relates to educational matters, and there is also no comprehensive children’s act in Danish legislation. Rather, provisions relevant to children are found throughout various legislative acts.

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