Fellow: Emma-Rose Duffy

Children’s Law Centre

The Children’s Law Centre (CLC) is a Northern Ireland charity founded on the UNCRC in 1997. CLC is working towards a society where all children can participate, are valued, have their rights respected and guaranteed without discrimination and where every child can achieve their full potential. CLC is the leading children’s rights NGO in Northern Ireland and the only children’s legal NGO in the jurisdiction.

We advocate for the full implementation by Government of domestic and international human rights standards, as they apply to children. CLC in partnership with Save the Children in Northern Ireland lead on behalf of NGOs in Northern Ireland in reporting to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

CLC provides the only free, accredited, dedicated legal advice and representation service for children and young people in Northern Ireland. We operate a free phone legal advice line for children, young people and their parents/carers called CHALKY. Within our policy, legal, advice and representation services we deal with a range of issues relating to children and the law, with a particular focus on laws impacting on the most vulnerable children, such as; looked after children, children with special educational needs, children experiencing poverty, children with disabilities and mental health needs and children experiencing discrimination including those from ethnic minority backgrounds.

We provide free legal representation at tribunals, including School Expulsion and Admissions appeals, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SENDIST), Mental Health appeals against detention, and occasionally at Social Security Tribunals. We monitor and analyse all calls to our Free Phone Advice Line and based on a quantitative and qualitative analysis we undertake strategic legal representation in a limited number of strategic cases in Court, usually in Judicial Reviews. We have also undertaken Third Party Interventions in strategic cases when significant children’s rights issues are engaged. We use this analysis, alongside research on the implementation of children’s rights, to inform our training programme which is delivered to a range of audiences including children, parents/carers, NGOs, lawyers and duty bearers. Drawing on our analysis we engage in policy and legislative development to ensure new laws and policy best guarantees the rights of the most vulnerable children. We do this by undertaking policy commentary and engaging with the legislature including through giving evidence at NI Assembly Committees.

CLC has with a youth advisory group, Youth@clc

We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to host a Legal Education Foundation, Justice First Fellowship Scheme in Northern Ireland.

For further information, visit our website.

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