SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES: 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.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has ratified the CRC, but it does not have the force of national law as it has not been fully incorporated. There is no comprehensive Children’s Act, but children have several options to challenge violations of their rights, including rights and freedoms under the Constitution and other laws, such as the Domestic Violence Act, but generally must do so with the assistance of a representative. Challenges can be brought in front of local courts and the courts of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States which form part of the domestic appeals system. In some instances, children may bring cases by themselves, such as with regard to domestic violence in front of the family courts, or if the court permits the child to conduct proceedings without a next friend, but children can generally not count on legal aid for bringing a claim. Non-governmental organisations cannot initiate or intervene in cases, but may submit petitions to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Group proceedings by five or more persons with the same or a similar interest are also a possibility.

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