NAMIBIA: 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.

Namibia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in in 1990. The Namibian Constitution stipulates that when Namibia has agreed to be bound to a specific international instrument, it is automatically part of national law. The Child Care and Protection Act gives the child standing to bring a case before a children’s court, and the court will appoint a legal representative to assist the child if necessary. In other courts, a child would need the assistance of a representative to bring a case before the court and could be assisted by a curator ad litem appointed by the court. Children who have been accused of committing an offence are able to obtain legal aid provided by the government if they have insufficient means to engage a legal practitioner for their defence. Non-governmental organisations are not able to challenge potential children’s rights violations unless they can show that they themselves have a direct and substantial interest in the matter, although it is not clear from the case law what would substitute a “direct and substantial interest.”

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