Author: Aoife Daly
In this commentary, Aoife Daly provides analysis of Article 15 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – the right of children to freedom of association and assembly. Relevant international law text and case law are examined, but this commenary goes beyond this to reconceptualise Article 15. The right is applied to themes as varied as association with family and friends, political demonstrations, and the unionisation of working children, with the special position of children to the forefront of the analysis. Possibilities for progressing the right through UN mechanisms, courts and other arenas are considered. In doing so, this book pushes traditional boundaries to and understandings of association and assembly, drawing-out particularly child-specific elements of this crucial right.
Author: Aoife Daly
In this book Aoife Daly argues that where courts decide children’s best interests (for example about parental contact) the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child's "right to be heard" is insufficient, and autonomy should instead be the focus. Global law and practice indicate that children are regularly denied due process rights in their own best interest proceedings and find their wishes easily overridden. It is argued that a children’s autonomy principle, respecting children’s wishes unless significant harm would likely result, would ensure greater support for children in proceedings, and greater obligations on adults to engage in transparent decision-making. This book is a call for a reconceptualisation of the status of children in a key area of children’s rights.
In: The International Journal of Children's Rights
Author: Aoife Daly

Article 12 of the un Convention on the Rights of the Child (crc) stipulates that children should have their views accorded due weight in accordance with age and maturity, including in proceedings affecting them. Yet there is no accepted understanding as to how to weigh children’s views, and it is associated strongly with the indeterminate notion of “competence”. In this article, case law and empirical research is drawn upon to argue that the concept of weighing their views has been an obstacle to children’s rights, preventing influence on outcomes for children in proceedings in which their best interests are determined. Younger children and those whose wishes incline against the prevailing orthodoxy (they may resist contact with a parent, for example) particularly lose out. Children’s views appear only to be given “significant weight” if the judge agrees with them anyway. As it is the notion of autonomy which is prioritised in areas such as medical and disability law and parents’ rights, it is proposed in this article that a children’s autonomy principle is adopted in proceedings – in legal decisions in which the best interest of the child is the primary consideration, children should get to choose, if they wish, how they are involved and the outcome, unless it is likely that significant harm will arise from their wishes. They should also have “autonomy support” to assist them in proceedings. This would likely ensure greater influence for children and require more transparent decision-making by adults.

In: The International Journal of Children's Rights