UCL Faculty of Laws


Children and Their Rights (LAWS0062)

Children and their Rights offers students a multi-disciplinary critical investigation of children’s rights in an international context, focused around the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989

This module offers a critical examination of children’s rights in an international context, focusing around the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989. The module has three main parts. In the first, we address the theoretical issues relating to children’s rights and introduce the UNCRC. In the second part, we introduce the core principles of children’s rights before, in the third part, turning to look at particular issues arising in the application of particular rights of children. All of these issues are addressed alongside broader questions about childhood, law and society.

The Children and their Rights module will familiarise students with the content of international children’s rights, and allow them to gain a critical understanding of both theoretical and practical challenges facing a children’s rights discourse. Students will see that insights into children’s rights can come from a variety of disciplinary areas, including childhood studies, sociology and criminology, as well as law. The module will allow students to apply a child-centred approach when analysing legislation, policies, practices and court decisions concerning children.

Module syllabus

This module is subject to cange.

Part 1: Theoretical Issues

  1. An Introduction to Children’s Rights and Constructions of ‘the Child’
  2. The Theoretical Basis of Children’s Rights
  3. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989

Part 2: The Core Principles of Children’s Rights

  1. The Best Interests Principle
  2. The Right to Life, Survival and Development
  3. Children’s Participation Rights

Part 3: Specific Issues in Children’s Rights

  1. The Child, the Family and Identity
  2. Juvenile Justice
  3. The Right to Education
  4. Revision session

Recommended materials

There are no recommended materials for this course. Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment.

Preliminary reading

  • Perspectives on the UNCRC, online at http://www.unicef.org/rightsite/364_366.htm
  • M Wyness, Childhood and Society (2nd edn, Palgrave, 2012), Chs 1 and 2
  • M Freeman, ‘Children’s Rights: Past, Present and Future: Some Introductory Comments’, in M Freeman (Ed) The Future of Children’s Rights (Brill, 2014)
  • J Fortin, Children’s Rights and the Developing Law (3rd edn, CUP, 2009), Ch 1

Key information

Module details
Credit value:15 credits (7.5 ECTS, 150 learning hours)
Convenor:Rob George
Other Teachers:None
Teaching Delivery:10 x 2-hour weekly seminars, Term Two
Who may enrol:Any UCL Master’s student
Must not be taken with:None
Qualifying module for:LLM in Law and Social Justice;
LLM in Human Rights Law
Practice Assessment:Opportunity for feedback on one optional practice essay
Final Assessment:Exam (100%)