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Handbook / Guide / Manual

Publication date:20 November 2015

Handbook on European law relating to the rights of the child

Children are full-fledged holders of rights. They are beneficiaries of all human and fundamental rights and subjects of special regulations, given their specific characteristics. This handbook aims to illustrate how European law and case law accommodate the specific interests and needs of children.


This project concerns the development of a Handbook on European law relating to the rights of the child. The Handbook identifies relevant law and case law from the European Union and the Council of Europe including law from relevant EU regulations and directives.


The aim of the Handbook is to assist practitioners dealing with the legal protection of the rights of the child in the EU and Council of Europe Member States - and beyond.

Issues concerning the rights of the child are increasingly examined in cases before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR), and more recently, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). These cases are mostly grounded on European law concerning human rights in general, rather than being specifically related to child rights. Hence it is important to identify the 'European standard' of child rights protection derived from this case law and its source legislation This is particularly important as the case law often elaborates on or adds to the protection granted under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which has been ratified by all EU Member States.


The Handbook will provide legal and other practitioners working in the area of child rights with knowledge and easy access to the European child protection standards - which they can use in their claims, or simply in their daily child care practice. The law and case law will be presented in the Handbook in a simple and accessible way.

The project will select extracts from key judgments and decisions. They will then be compiled and explained in the Handbook which will also present key aspects of the European legal framework both at Council of Europe and European Union level, referring to other legal frameworks as relevant.