Several EU directives provide for children’s right to legal assistance under certain circumstances – specifically, for child suspects/offenders and child victims. Setting conditions and procedural rules for a child to be entitled to legal aid (such as income requirements), however, lies within the powers of Member States.
For information on free legal aid for child suspects/offenders as well as child victims, see our interactive data explorer.
Legal aid is enshrined for “everyone” both in the Charter (Article 47) and the ECHR (Article 6). In the context of these instruments, legal aid is set out to help persons in judicial proceedings who do not have sufficient resources to pay for assistance and representation by a lawyer.
Regarding people in migration, Article 15 (2) of the Anti-Trafficking Directive and Article 20 (2) of the Directive on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography refer to legal representation of, and legal counselling for, child victims of trafficking in human beings or victims of sexual abuse. Specific provisions on legal aid for asylum seekers are also enshrined in Articles 20 and 21 of the Asylum Procedures Directive.
In all cases, however, setting other conditions or procedural rules for a child to be entitled to legal aid, such as income requirements, lies within the powers of EU Member States.