UCL Faculty of Laws


Children and Their Rights (LAWS0275)

Children and Their Rights is a 1-term module where students critically examine children’s rights in an international context, focusing 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

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

4. The Best Interests Principle

5. The Right to Life, Survival and Development

6. Children’s Participation Right

Part 3: Topical Issues in Children’s Rights*

7. Children’s Rights and Sustainable Development

8. Child Trafficking

9. Juvenile Justice

10. Revision session

*Note: Seminars 7, 8 and 9 may vary, based on particularly topical issues which arise in relation to children’s rights.

Recommended Materials

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

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:22.5 credits (225 learning hours)
Convenor:Dr Rob George
Other Teachers:None
Teaching Delivery:Face to Face Seminar
Who may enrol:LLM Students Only
Must not be taken with:None
Qualifying module for:Law and Social Justice;
Human Rights Law
Practice Assessment:TBD
Final Assessment:

1,500 Word Essay (50%)

1,500 Word Essay (50%)