IRELAND: 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.

Ireland ratified the CRC in 1992. The CRC has not been incorporated into domestic law and it cannot be directly enforced in domestic courts. Children are permitted to bring civil cases in Irish courts, however they are required to have a 'next friend' to conduct civil proceedings on their behalf. In criminals actions, child victims cannot be party to the actual proceedings, as crimes are generally prosecuted by the State of Ireland. Judicial review proceedings may be brought on behalf of a child if it can be shown that the child has 'sufficient interest'. Legal aid is available to children in Ireland in certain situations, and is allocated on the basis of a 'means test' and a 'merits test'. The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is empowered to provide legal aid (including legal representation), appear as amicus curiae, and institute legal proceedings in its own name to vindicate the human rights of a person or class of persons in Ireland.

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Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.