ITALY: Access to justice for children

A report on the status of the 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.

Italy ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and incorporated it into its domestic law in 1991. The CRC can be directly enforced in domestic courts, and domestic laws must be interpreted in accordance with the CRC, as much as possible. The Constitution allows all persons to take legal action to protect their rights. Generally, children can only bring cases to court through a parent, guardian or legal representative. If the child is emancipated, or over 14 in a criminal case or in an employment contract for a civil case, then they may personally bring cases to court. Acts and decisions of administrative bodies may be challenged by judicial review, but individuals cannot personally bring the claims to the Constitutional Court. Instead, the claim must be brought forward by a lower court. Children can make complaints to the Ombudsperson for Children and Adolescents. Applicants with insufficient means are entitled to legal aid in all phases of litigation and before any court, including in criminal, civil, and administrative proceedings.  Children can qualify for legal aid if their family’s income suffices as low, or if they are in conflict with their family.

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