UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Articles 3 and 12: opportunities and challenges

Date: 20 August 2021
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, §3(1) establishes the primacy of the best interest of the child, while §12 mandates respect for the views of the child – but what when there is conflict between the two? This roundtable sheds light on this from four different perspectives:
(1) Are comprehensive welfare checklists, that features the child’s right to be heard useful for providing guidance in balancing the two concerns?
(2) Should divorce laws abandon the property-inspired concept of parental rights to “custody” and consider family violence as an aspect of the child’s best interest, giving due weight to the views of children, and promote non-court dispute resolution?
(3) Is it in the best interests of children born form incest and rape to know the truth about the circumstances of their conception and the identity of their biological father – and what if they demand to know who their father is?
(4) What about marriage for older children (16 – 17 year-olds); should this ever be permissible – and what challenges does raising the age to 18 present?

Roundtable participants: Elaine Sutherland (Professor of Law, University of Stirling); Nicholas Bala (Professor of Law, Queen’s University, Canada); Lesley-Anne Macfarlane (Lecturer, Edinburgh Napier University); Lize Mills (Senior Lecturer, University of Stellenbosch). Moderator:  Hege Beate Stein Helland (Postdoctoral Researcher, DIPA, UiB).

This event is hosted by DIPA (the UiB Centre for research on discretion and paternalism).
The roundtable discussion is followed by the official closing of Bergen Exchanges 2021 (#BeEx2021) at 16.00 with a closing reception at Bergen Global.