TONGA: 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.

Tonga ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1995. The CRC has been implemented in national law in a limited way, and it does not take precedence over national law. The CRC cannot be directly enforced in national courts, though the Supreme Court has made reference to it in previous judgments. A child can only personally bring claims to the criminal court if they are the victim, otherwise a minor may only sue or defend a claim through his or her next friend. The constitutionality of laws or administrative decisions can be challenged through judicial review. There is no state-funded legal aid system or separate juvenile court or system for children in conflict with the law. There is also no formal human rights infrastructure in the sense of a national human rights institution. However, there is a Public Complaints Commissioner who receives and investigates public complaints about government departments.

Download the full report.

Promotional Image: 


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.