Mapping minimum age requirements: Children's rights and justice

The right to access justice and all other relevant procedural rights are not just rights in themselves; they also protect against violations of every other right. Respect for children’s rights in the area of justice is therefore essential. International treaties, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, European Union (EU) secondary law, and national legislation provide a number of relevant rights.

The information presented shows the various patterns concerning age requirements for children to acquire rights in the area of justice in the EU. They also identify inconsistencies, protection gaps and restrictions deriving from different age thresholds. The aim is to assist EU Member States in addressing these issues and the EU in exercising its competence to support and coordinate Member States’ actions related to children and youth.

FRA collected data in the following areas:

  1. Access to legal representation and legal aid
  2. Right to be heard
  3. Procedural safeguards
  4. Children and detention

The maps and tables presented on the following web pages show the national legislative provisions on age requirements in various policy areas and domains for protection and participation rights of children. A summary of key findings for each area is provided under the maps and tables.

For further details about how minimum ages affect the rights of children, the FRA research and related work by the European Commission, see the background information.

Research – The information was collected through Franet, FRA’s multidisciplinary research network. The information was shared in September 2017 with all EU Member States through the European Commission’s informal group of experts of rights of the child, with the request to check the accuracy of the data or update any data if relevant.

Timeline – The reference period was until April 2016. Any legislative developments since then and up until the date of publication of these pages have been included whenever relevant or if known.