German version now available
19 January 2024

Handbook on European law relating to the rights of the child - 2022 edition

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. It also considers the importance of parents and guardians or other legal representatives and makes reference, where appropriate, to situations in which rights and responsibilities are most prominently vested in children’s carers. It is a point of reference on both European Union (EU) and Council of Europe (CoE) law related to these subjects, explaining how each issue is regulated under EU law, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, as well as under the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Social Charter and other CoE instruments.

This handbook is designed for non-specialist legal professionals, judges, public prosecutors, child protection authorities, and other practitioners and organisations responsible for ensuring the legal protection of the rights of the child. It explains key jurisprudence, summarising major rulings of both the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights.

In this report:

  1. Introduction to European law relating to the rights of the child: context and key principles
  2. Civil rights and freedoms
  3. Equality and non-discrimination
  4. Personal identity issues
  5. Family life
  6. Alternative care to family care and adoption
  7. Child protection against violence and exploitation
  8. Economic, social and cultural rights and adequate standard of living
  9. Migration and asylum
  10. Personal data and consumer protection
  11. Children’s rights within criminal justice and alternative (non-judicial) proceedings