‘Where do I stand? Assessing children’s capabilities under English Law’
journal contributionposted on 09.11.2015, 11:10 by Dawn E. Watkins
This paper sets out the findings of a doctrinal study that has sought to establish a child’s ‘standing’ under English law, focussing primarily on children aged 7-11 years. It will demonstrate that the legal provisions that apply to children’s everyday lives are piecemeal and inconsistent, but more importantly, it will argue that even though the child possesses a broad range of rights under the UNCRC, he or she is much more clearly recognised and acknowledged as a wrongdoer than a ‘right-doer’ under English law. Following a close analysis of Article 12, the author goes on to discuss emerging scholarship concerning the capabilities approach and its relationship to children’s rights. This is then suggested as a possible basis for shifting our thinking and practice in this area; from a place that recognises children’s capacities not only as wrongdoers and as rights holders, but also increasingly as ‘potentially competent’ social actors and influencers. .