SAINT LUCIA: 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 CRC is not formally part of national law in Saint Lucia. Since ratification of the CRC, attempts have been made to incorporate parts of the CRC into domestic law.  Saint Lucia has approved some new statutes as well as amended some of its child protection legislation to comply with the Convention. However, many laws are still contrary to the principles of the CRC. The CRC cannot be directly enforced in national courts. Nonetheless, the CRC can be and has been cited for interpretive guidance by national and regional courts with jurisdiction over Saint Lucia. The Constitution ensures every person’s right to access an independent and impartial court or other authority, and right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time. Under the Civil Procedure Rules, children through their representatives are entitled to bring civil cases in the courts to challenge violations of their rights. They may also bring constitutional complaints or judicial review proceedings. There is no child-specific procedure for filing individual complaints. The legal system is noted for being slow, leading to a backlog of cases in the court system and long stays of pre-trial detention. The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and the government has generally respected judicial independence in practice.

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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.