GERMANY: 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.

Germany ratified the CRC in 1992 but the treaty has not been directly incorporated and does not take precedence over domestic legislation. The parents are the legal representatives of the child, however, should the parents’ interests conflict with the child’s, an alternative representative can be appointed by the court. Children can benefit from legal aid if they prove their lack of resources and likeliness of winning. Cases can be brought in front of the Constitutional Court when a right under the CRC is also protected by the Constitution, as a last resort. Special criminal courts deal with child offenders and victims. Once all domestic remedies have been exhausted, complaints of violations of children’s rights may be submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child under the third Optional Protocol to the CRC, which Germany has ratified.

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