Advancing Children's Rights: Findings from a study of advocacy

ACR Photo


On 8th December 2015, the Child Law Clinic hosted an event in Dublin to present the findings of our Advancing Children’s Rights research, supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies. Chaired by Senator Jillian Van Turnhout, this event was a rare opportunity to reflect on child rights advocacy in Ireland and to tease out the implications of the research for progressing children’s rights in the future.

Based on the findings, the research team at the Child Law Clinic have produced a number of briefing notes aimed at those working with and on behalf of children and young people.

Hearing Children and Young People's Voices

Part 1: Development of Children's Rights in Ireland

Part 2: Learnings

Children's Referendum Briefing Note

Internationalisation of Children's Rights




O'Keeffe v Ireland, One Year On: Implications and Implementation

On the first anniversary of the landmark decision of the European Court of Human Rights in O’Keeffe v Ireland, the Child Law Clinic, School of Law, UCC held this public seminar to examine the implications of the decision for child protection in Irish schools, the response of the Irish State to date and the broader significance of the case in terms of the relationship between the European Convention on Human Rights and Irish law.


Louise O'Keeffe

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

Dr Conor O'Mahony, Senior Lecturer in Law and Deputy Director of the Child Law Clinic

Chair: Professor Ursula Kilkelly, Head of the School of Law and Director of the Child Law Clinic

Advancing Children's Rights, June 2014

On the 19th and 20th of June 2014, the Child Law Clinic hosted two one-day conferences, as part of the Advancing Children’s Rights Project supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies. The conferences provided Atlantic Philanthropies grantees with a unique opportunity to share experiences and practices in legal and international advocacy, to build capacity to work effectively in these areas and to build and develop relationships with each other.

Photos from the conferences can be viewed in the Photo Gallery.

With an interactive and practical approach, the morning's plenary presentations were followed by interactive workshops which aimed to enable participants to learn from each other about using the law and internationalising children’s rights and also to explore new strategies to advance children’s rights.

Using the Law (19 June 2014)

Marsha Levick ESQ., Deputy Director and Chief Counsel, Juvenile Law Center Phildadelphia

Marsha Levick co-founded Juvenile Law Center in 1975. Throughout her legal career, she has been an advocate for children’s and women’s rights and is a nationally recognised expert in juvenile law. In her presentation, she talks about how the law has been used effectively to benefit children in the US. Click here to watch.

Professor Ann Skelton, Director of the Centre for Child Law, University of Pretoria

Professor Ann Skelton has been Director of the Centre for Child Law since 2008. Prior to her appointment, she worked for “Lawyers for Human Rights” holding a variety of different positions.  In this recording, she speaks about her experience of using the law to promote children’s rights in a democratic South Africa. Click here to watch.

Anna Brown, Director of Advocacy and Strategic Litigation, Human Rights Law Centre Melbourne

Anna Brown has worked with the HRLC since 2011. In her current role, she focuses on projects regarding police accountability, protester rights, equality law reform and the institutional and legal protection of human rights. In this video, she gives an overview of the HRLC’s involvement in a case regarding the youngest person ever to be shot by Victoria police. Click here to watch.

Professor Carolyn Hamilton, Director of International Programmes and Research, Coram Children’s Legal Centre, UK

Professor Carolyn Hamilton is a well-known child rights lawyer, who has published widely on issues of children’s rights and child law. In this video, she speaks about the work of Coram Children's Legal Centre including strategic litigation, campaigning and international activities. Click here to watch.

Internationalisation (20 June 2014)

Margaret Tuite, European Commission coordinator for the rights of the child

Margaret Tuite is the European Commission coordinator for rights of the child in the unit responsible for fundamental rights and the rights of the child in DG Justice. In this short lecture, she talks about opportunities for Irish NGOs to interact with the EU to promote the rights of the child. Click here to watch.

Gordana Berjan, Head of Children’s Rights Policies Coordination Unit, Council of Europe

Gordana Berjan is the Head of the Children’s Rights Policies Coordination unit of the Council of Europe where she has the responsibility of coordinating the Children’s Rights Division’s strategic work for eliminating all forms of violence against children, as well as promoting child-friendly services and systems and child participation. In her lecture, she speaks about the work of the Council, in particular that which relates to the rights of the child. Click here to watch.

Veronica Yates, Director of Child Rights International Network

Veronica Yates has worked for CRIN for just over ten years. She is highly ambitious for CRIN's developing advocacy role and believes that small, focused organisations can make a disproportionate impact. In this video, she talks about CRIN's work in advancing children's rights. Click here to watch.

Benoit Van Keirsbilck, President of Defence for Children International

Benoit Van Keirsbilck is currently President of Defence for Children International (DCI). He was one of the founders and, at one time, President of the Belgian section of DCI. In his presentation, he provides an account of DCI's involvement in a campaign to end the detention of children in Belgian immigration centres. Click here to watch.




Guest Lecture by Baroness Hale, Thursday 22nd May 2014

One of the world's most widely-known and respected jurists, Baroness Hale, of the UK Supreme Court, is to deliver a public lecture at the Child Law Clinic. The lecture will be chaired by Hon Justice Catherine McGuinness. 

The lecture will be on Thursday 22nd May 2014, at 5.30 pm in the Council Room, North Wing, The Quad, University College Cork. Admission is free.

For bookings or further enquiries, email Dr. Sarah Field at

Baroness Hale

Deputy President of The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, The Right Hon the Baroness Hale of Richmond

Lady Hale was appointed Deputy President of The Supreme Court in June 2013, succeeding Lord Hope of Craighead.

In January 2004, Lady Hale became the United Kingdom’s first woman Lord of Appeal in Ordinary after a varied career as an academic lawyer, law reformer, and judge. In October 2009 she became the first woman Justice of The Supreme Court.

After graduating from Cambridge in 1966, she taught law at Manchester University from 1966 to 1984, also qualifying as a barrister and practising for a while at the Manchester Bar. She specialised in Family and Social Welfare law, was founding editor of the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, and authored a pioneering case book on ‘The Family, Law and Society’.

In 1984 she was the first woman to be appointed to the Law Commission, a statutory body which promotes the reform of the law. Important legislation resulting from the work of her team at the Commission includes the Children Act 1989, the Family Law Act 1996, and the Mental Capacity Act 2005. She also began sitting as an assistant recorder.

In 1994 she became a High Court judge, the first to have made her career as an academic and public servant rather than a practising barrister. In 1999 she was the second woman to be promoted to the Court of Appeal, before becoming the first woman Law Lord.

She retains her links with the academic world as Chancellor of the University of Bristol, Visitor of Girton College, Cambridge, and Visiting Professor of Kings College London.  A home maker as well as a judge, she thoroughly enjoyed helping the artists and architects create a new home for The Supreme Court. 

The Child Law Clinic 3rd Annual Lecture 2014

On Thursday 20th March 2014, The Third Annual Child Law Lecture, 'The Child in European Law' was delivered by Nuala Mole of The Advice on Individual Rights in Europe (AIRE) Centre, London.

The lecture may be watched here.


 Nuala Mole- Annual Lecture 2014







* Nuala Mole is the founder and senior lawyer at the AIRE Centre, a London-based NGO that seeks to promote awareness of European law rights and assist marginalised individuals and those in vulnerable circumstances to assert those rights. She has worked for more than 25 years in the field of human rights. She has written extensively on all aspects of the European Convention on Human Rights and has been part of the legal team in more than 70 cases before the ECtHR, the ECJ and landmark cases in the UK.

She is on the Board of the European Human Rights Law Review and co-edits the Centre's monthly Bulletin of ECHR caselaw. She was chosen by the Council of Europe to represent human rights NGOs at the 50th anniversary of the European Convention in Rome in 2000 and was the Law Society's Human Rights Lawyer of the Year in 2001. She also received the 2005 Prix de l'Ancien - this Alumnus of the Year Prize is awarded each year to a former student of the College of Europe who has made a significant contribution to the promotion of the European ideal, the promotion of excellence, generosity, tolerance and respect for diversity, friendship and solidarity and open-mindedness.

She has conducted training for the Council of Europe, the European Commission and the AIRE Centre for judges, public officials, lawyers and NGOs in 40 of the 46 member states of the Council of Europe on a wide range of topics including immigration, prisoners' rights, children's rights and family law. Since 2001, she has been assisting in curriculum development and implementation for judicial training centres in South East Europe. She works with national and international judges and public officials throughout Western, Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, but particularly in the Balkans, promoting familiarity and awareness with human rights standards and providing assistance in applying them in practice.

Before setting up the AIRE Centre she was the Director of the NGO Interights for a number of years. Nuala read law at St Anne's College, Oxford and European law at the College of Europe. She speaks English, French, Spanish and Greek.


Further Information on Clinic Events

The Clinic's primary activity is in contributing to litigation before the Irish and international courts. We are engaged in raising awareness about the need for the reform of child law in Ireland.

To this end the Cinic organises seminars, conferences and other events.  We also offer training on child law and youth justice.

Videos of our events held can be found on the Faculty of Law's video player by clicking here

We regularly host visiting scholars, NGOs and international organisations. This interaction ensures that the Clinic is constantly exposed to ongoing research and the issues and challenges of children's rights implementation developing the expertise of Clinic members and other interested parties. Clinic members get to sit in on these events and to participate in their organisation.

Full details of our activities and our events can be found on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Child Law Clinic

Faculty of Law, Áras na Laoi, Gaol Cross, UCC, Cork