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Building a europe for and with children: towards a strategy for

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building a europe for and with children:

towards a strategy for 2009-2011
Seminar 3:
Towards European guidelines on child friendly justice:

Identifying core principles and sharing examples of good practice

Stockholm, 8 September 2008

Discussion Guide

The objectives of the seminar are to share the reports prepared by Council of Europe consultants on child-friendly justice, discuss the implementation of standards related to children and justice, exchange experiences and showcase best practices. This gathering of concerned parties and professionals will also be the opportunity to identify the principles of child-friendly justice, receive input from key actors in the field which can serve to complete the reports of the consultants and gather elements for the future European Guidelines on Child-Friendly Justice (CFJ).
The seminar will be divided into three working sessions addressing successively the position of the child in civil and administrative justice, criminal justice and finally European and international standards. The three sessions will adopt a common pattern: the presentation by Council of Europe experts of the conclusions entailed in their respective reports on CFJ will be followed by presentations of other experts and in-depth panel discussions.
The expected outcome of each session is the identification by the participants of core principles and standards in all areas of CFJ as well as the exchange of concrete examples of good practice between the speakers, panellists – who will intervene as resource persons - and participants.
The findings of the three working sessions will be recalled in the conclusions of the closing session and presented during the plenary panel on child-friendly justice on Wednesday 10 September by the seminar’s general rapporteur, Mr Seamus Carroll. Ultimately, they should form a sound basis for the elaboration by a Group of Specialists of the Council of Europe on consolidated European Guidelines on CFJ in 2009.
This discussion guide aims at preparing and orienting the discussions so to ensure the most fruitful work. To that aim, it encloses brief indications on the focus of presentation of every speaker and panellist as well as a number of issues which are considered to be important to cover during the panel discussions.

Features of the seminar

Key note speech: “Listen seriously to the views of children”

Mr Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner of Human Rights, Council of Europe
Focus of presentation:

Core principles of a meaningful participation of children in courts

Issues to be addressed:

    • Adjusting judicial procedures to the needs of children as perpetrators, victims or witnesses

    • Ensuring children’s influence on administrative or judicial decisions relating to themselves

    • Responding the necessity of adequate training of public authorities directly in contact with children

    • Treating children with dignity, compassion and respecting their best interest

Session 1: The child in the civil and administrative justice systems
Achievements in taking children’s rights further in civil justice

by Ms Ruth Farrugia, Council of Europe expert, Professor of Civil Law
Focus of presentation:

Promoting effective access for children to civil justice as a child right within human rights

Issues to be addressed:

  • How to get to court

  • How to be heard (including the right to make an informed choice)

  • How to request the enforcement or amendment of a court decision

Crossing boundaries in the administration of children’s justice

by Ms Maria D. Panforti, Council of Europe expert, Professor of Comparative Family Law
Focus of presentation:

Protecting children’s welfare in administrative justice through adequate representation and support

Issues to be addressed:

  • Family mediation, as an alternative instrument in resolving family disputes including children

  • Relationship between public authorities and the child

  • Civil status, nationality, right to the registration of birth and right to a name, right to access personal data, foster care procedure

Panel discussion

  • Protection of children in family proceedings (in particular hearing of the child; speedy procedures; public hearing and public pronouncement of judgments in residence and custody matters)

  • Protection of children in administrative proceedings (in particular detention in the name of self-protection or pending extradition and expulsion)

  • The child’s procedural rights: right to information, freedom of expression, right to legal representation and assistance

Session 2: The child in the criminal justice system
Victims or perpetrators, the necessity of adapting to children’s needs

by Ms Ksenija Turkovic, Council of Europe expert, Professor of Criminal Law
Focus of presentation:

Setting-up child-friendly criminal procedures for children as crime victims, witnesses or perpetrators

Issues to be addressed:

  • Challenges and obstacles children face when encountering the criminal justice system

  • Lacunae in existing international instruments dealing with children in human rights and criminal law

  • Examples of child-friendly criminal procedures

The Children’s house in Iceland”

by Ms Ólöf Ásta Farestveit, Director of the Children’s House
Focus of presentation:

The Icelandic model of Children’s Houses

Issues to be addressed:

  • Historical development of Children’s Houses in Iceland

  • Operation of the Children’s Houses in Iceland

  • Prevention of children’s repeated trauma and effective investigation

The evaluation of Children’s houses in Sweden

by Mr Karsten Åström, Professor of the Sociology of law
Focus of presentation

The Swedish experience and evaluation of Children’s Houses

Issues to be addressed

  • Historical development of Children’s Houses in Sweden

  • Operation and evaluation of Children’s Houses in Sweden

  • Interdisciplinary co-operation as a means to promote child-friendly justice for child victims

Panel discussion:

  • Reconciling the child’s social needs and the effectiveness of the legal process

  • Implementing the right to reparation, recovery and social integration

  • How to keep children in conflict with law out of the justice system

Session 3: The child in International and European standards
Meeting the needs of children

by Ms Stefanie Schmahl, Council of Europe expert, Professor of Public International Law

and European law
Focus of presentation:

European and international human rights instruments relevant to child-friendly justice with particular focus on the Council of Europe standards and on the European Court of Human Rights’ case-law

Issues to be addressed:

  • The place of the child at all stages of the procedure (prior to, during and after)

  • Speedy procedures for cases involving children

  • Equal access to justice for more vulnerable children (e.g. street children, children with disabilities, children belonging to minorities, indigenous children, girls)

When, how and to what extent should the child be listened to? - Principles of communication with children in justice

by Mr Jean-Pierre Rosenczveig, President of the International Bureau for Children’s Rights
Focus of presentation:

The child’s right to be heard in judicial proceedings as a core principle, and not as a mere accepted possibility
Considered as a person, the child is not only the focus of judicial protection who should feel judicial support, but he or she is a subject : he/she is a person; it is not only a question of defending the child’s rights (for example, the right to protection); he or she can also expect/count on justice to recognise his or her new rights (for example, the right of access to IVF, the right of a disabled child to an education/schooling).
Issues to be addressed:

  • Creating a legal framework and climate favourable towards the child’s word in justice

  • Accompanying the child’s word before a court (including the child’s right to silence)

  • Preparing for listening to the child (specialization, operational protocols, training, materials, etc.) and retaining a critical sense with respect to the child’s word

Panel discussion

  • How to define / implement the best interest of the child

  • Specialised judges for children-related issues and specialised juvenile courts?

  • The voice of the child in proceedings : listening, scope, interpretation

  • How to encourage children’s/juveniles’ constructive participation in the development of child friendly justice

  • In order to achieve more concrete results for future work, the organizers of this seminar – the Council of Europe together with the Swedish Ministry of Justice – are inviting all participants to contribute to the seminar discussions. We hope you join in!


  • Mr. Karsten Åström

Karsten Åström was born in 1948 in Malmö (Sweden), and studied law at Lund University, Criminology at Stockholm University and Sociology of Law at Sheffield University (UK). After Karsten Åström received an MA in Socio-legal studies (1979) he was a senior lecturer in administrative law, especially welfare law at Stockholm University. After having defended his doctor’s thesis on the implementation of Welfare law in 1988 (LLD, Faculty of Law, Lund) and various research positions he became a docent in Sociology of law at Lund University and since 1999 he has been a professor at the Sociology of law Institute, Lund University. His current research interests are Sociology of Law, welfare and sustainable development. In 2006-2008, Mr. Åström was responsible for an evaluation study concerning a national introduction of Children's Advocacy Centres in six Swedish municipalities.

  • Ms. Josiane Bigot

Josiane Bigot is a magistrate, adviser at the Appeal Court in Colmar (France) and former President of the Strasbourg Children’s Court. She is also the founder and Chair of Themis, an association providing pluridisciplinary support to children’s rights and enhancing access to justice for young people and children. Ms Bigot has sound knowledge on the place of the child in all judicial proceedings - children at risk, child victims, children in parental conflicts, young offenders – since she worked as a juvenile judge, family judge and as President of a Cour d’Assises.

  • Mr. Seamus Carroll

Seamus Carroll works in the Civil Law Reform Division of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform in Ireland. He has been Ireland's representative on the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) since 2000 and a member of its Bureau since 2004.

  • Mr Fausto De Santis

Born in 1943, Fausto de Santis became a judge in 1971. In 1994, he became Public Prosecutor, then Judge at the Court of Cassation in 2001 and Director General of Statistics within the Ministry of Justice in 2002. In 2004, he organized, with European funding, the international conference on "Measuring Justice: Exchange of National Experiences" in Rome, with the participation of 18 European countries. From July 2005 to October 2006, he was also appointed Director General for IT in Justice. A member of the Italian delegation in the CEPEJ since its creation, he was elected President of the CEPEJ in December 2006.

  • Ms. Ólöf Ásta Farestveit

Ólöf Ásta Farestveit was born in 1969 in Reykjavík (Iceland). She obtained a BA in criminology and in child pedagogy from Stockholm University (Sweden) in 1995. She then worked in a state treatment centre for youth. For a short time Ólöf Ásta monitored young offenders in the Icelandic prison and probation administration. Since 2001, Ólöf Ásta has been working as a specialised researcher at the Children´s assessment centre, “Barnahus”. In 2007, Ólöf Ásta was promoted Director of the center. Ólöf Ásta has conducted over 400 forensic interviews with children aged 3-18 in instances where sexual abuse was suspected. She is the author of the book “Verndum þau” (“Let’s protect them”), a book about how to respond to suspicions of neglect or violence against children and youth. The book was published in Reykjavík in 2006.

  • Ms. Ruth Farrugia

Dr Ruth Farrugia is an advocate and senior lecturer within the Faculty of Law at the University of Malta. She is a former consultant to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Social Policy, the Social Affairs Committee in Parliament and UNHCR. She was chairperson of the Children Care Orders Board and drafted the Children Act, Commissioner for Children Act and Gender Equality Act. Dr Farrugia is a legal advisor to the Commissioner for Children, country expert to the Comparative European Family Law Commission and the Common Core in Family Law Group and has recently been appointed to the PRMIII Experts Group of the European Commission. She has published widely in the field of family law, child law and human rights.

  • Mr. Cédric Foussard

Cédric Foussard has been Director of the International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO) since 2005. The IJJO works to promote a global approach to juvenile justice without boundaries.  It works internationally to develop appropriate strategies, policies, legislative tools and intervention methods to achieve this goal. As Director of the Observatory, he collaborates closely with international organisations including the UN; the Council of Europe, and European Union institutions. He coordinates exchange of best practices and expertise between IJJO’s partners in the field of juvenile justice, holding international conferences and managing a worldwide research programme. Previously, he held positions with the French diplomatic corps in the United States and in Uruguay, in the field of media and communication. He also worked within the European Research Institute of Birmingham (United Kingdom). He holds two Masters degrees: one in Public Management from the Institute of Political Studies at the University of Aix-en-Provence (France), and one in Business and Administration of International Affairs from the Escuela Europea de Negocio (Spain).

  • Mr. Pär Anders Granhag

Pär Anders Granhag was born in 1964 in Gothenburg (Sweden), and he studied psychology in Gothenburg (Sweden), Leiden (The Netherlands) and Seattle (USA). He obtained his PhD in Psychology in 1996 (University of Gothenburg). Since 2006, Pär Anders Granhag is Professor of Psychology at the University of Gothenburg. Pär Anders Granhag has conducted research on psychology and law for nearly 20 years, and his main topics of interest are eyewitness testimony, children’s testimony, deception detection, investigative interviewing and interrogation. He has published over 100 scientific reports, and several books. Furthermore, Pär Anders Granhag has offered expert advice within legal psychology both nationally and internationally, and he has more than ten years’ experience of training legal professionals. Pär Anders Granhag is on the editorial board of five international scientific journals. He is the founding director of the research unit for Criminal, Legal and Investigative Psychology (CLIP), and the Nordic Network for research on Psychology & Law (www.nnpl.net).

  • Mr. Thomas Hammarberg

Thomas Hammarberg was nominated for the post of Commissioner for Human Rights by the Swedish government. Elected on 5 October 2005 by the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, he took up his position on 1 April 2006, succeeding the first Commissioner, Mr Alvaro Gil-Robles. Prior to his appointment, he held the key posts of Secretary General of the Stockholm-based Olof Palme International Center (2002-05), Ambassador of the Swedish Government on Humanitarian Affairs (1994-2002), Secretary General of "Save the Children" Sweden (1986-92), and Secretary General of the London-based Amnesty International (1980-86). For several years he was also the Swedish Prime Minister's Personal Representative for the UN Special Session on Children. Over the past 25 years, Mr Hammarberg has published widely on various human rights issues, particularly on children's rights.

  • Mr. Sjaak Jansen

Sjaak Jansen was born in 1946 in The Hague (The Netherlands). He works at the Dutch Ministry of Justice, as a Co-ordinating Counseller of Legislation and Deputy Judge at the Court of Appeal in The Hague (since 1987). He also is a member (and former Chair, 2005-2006) of the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ), member (and former Chair) of the Committee of Experts on Family Law (CJ-FA) and the former Editor in Chief of the Tijdschrift voor Familie-en Jeugdrecht (FJR). Mr. Jansen took part as the Representative of the Netherlands in the preparation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. He has published widely on various family law, child law and health law issues.

  • Mr. Jan Kleijssen

Jan Kleijssen was born in 1958 in Almelo (The Netherlands). He studied International Law at Utrecht State University (LLM in 1981) and International Affairs at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Ottawa (MA 1982). He joined the Council of Europe in 1983 as a Lawyer with the European Commission on Human Rights. Having served as Director of the Secretary General’s Private Office and as the Special Adviser to the President of the Parliamentary Assembly, he is currently the Director of Standard-Setting, within the Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs (DG-HL) of the Council of Europe. He is the author of several publications in the field of human rights and international relations.

  • Mr. Jean-Claude Legrand

Jean-Claude Legrand has been working with UNICEF since 1993, mainly in the field of child protection. Prior to his appointment with UNICEF, he worked with a UN Special representative, from 1991 to 1993. From 1985 to 1991 he worked for various NGOs, mainly in situations of emergency and armed conflict: AICF, MSF France, International Rescue Committee and Oxfam-UK (in Sudan, Malawi and Mozambique). Before that he was a sociology lecturer in France. Mr. Legrand was Senior Advisor for children in armed conflict for UNICEF, based in New York from 1997 to 2001, and UNICEF Child Protection Regional Advisor for West and Central Africa from 2002 to 2007. He is currently UNICEF Child Protection Regional Advisor for CEE/CIS, a post which he took up in October 2007. Mr Legrand is a French national, and is married with three children.

  • Ms. Claire Loftus

Claire Loftus qualified as a Solicitor in 1992 and has been a prosecutor since 1993. She was appointed Chief Prosecution Solicitor to the Director of Public Prosecutions in 2001. In this position she is responsible for all Solicitors involved in prosecuting the Director’s cases in Courts nationwide. She has taken a lead role within the Office of the DPP in relation to communication with victims of crime and has been particularly involved in the development of office policy and awareness concerning child victims within the criminal justice system. Other qualifications include a MSc in Public Sector Management from Trinity College Dublin (2002).

  • Ms. Maria D. Panforti

Maria Donata Panforti is Professor of Private Comparative Law in the University of Modena-Reggio Emilia (Italy) where she teaches Comparative Legal Systems, Private Comparative Law and European Commercial Law. She is the President of Emilia-Studies Center for Comparative Law. She is a member of the Executive Council of the Italian Society of Comparative Law, of the Italian Association of Applied Linguistics; and of the National Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Arts in Modena. She joined the International Society of Family Law in 1995, and has been a member of the Society’s Executive Council since 1997. Her research areas include: legal and cultural pluralism; harmonisation of law; family law; property law; law and language; law and literature; law teaching. She is the author of books and contributions in family law and property law which she has investigated with a comparative approach.

  • Ms. Nasima Patel

Nasima Patel has worked for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) for 8 years, initially employed to develop the sexual exploitation service in East London, then as Assistant Director for Fresh Start, the NSPCC centre for action on child sexual abuse. This included being responsible for the development of the NSPCC Child Trafficking Advice and Information Line. She is the Executive Staff Officer for the Services to children and young people function within the NSPCC. Nasima Patel is a Social Worker, having worked in local authorities’ child protection teams prior to her arrival to the NSPCC. She has a specific interest in policy and practice around sexual exploitation and has co-written in this area. She has completed her MA in social work.

  • Mr Harald Range

Harald Range, born in 1948 in Germany, has been a General Prosecutor (Germany) since 2001. He has long-standing experience in Penal and Procedural Law, Prosecution, Management, Administration, European Criminal Law, and has gained specific experience within Eastern Countries. Mr Range is President of the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors of the Council of Europe (CCPE) and former President of the Conference of the Prosecutors General of Europe (CPGE). Mr Range was previously Head of Section of Penal Law and Procedural Law from 1989 to 2000, within the Ministry of Justice (State of Lower Saxony, Germany), Senior Prosecutor in the General Prosecutor’s Office of Celle (1985-1989), Judge and Prosecutor in Saxony (1977-1989).

  • Mr. Jean-Pierre Rosensczveig

Jean Pierre Rosenczveig is a senior juvenile judge, Vice-president of the tribunal de grande instance of Bobigny and President of the Children’s Court in Bobigny, France. Jean-Pierre Rosenczveig has also been the President of the International Bureau for Children’s Rights (IBCR) since 1996 and of the French association Defence for Children International (DCI), which he founded, since 1998.

  • Ms. Anna Giudice Saget

Anna Giudice Saget, a Swedish and Italian national, was born in 1975 in Courbevoie (France) and studied public international law and common law at the University of Paris X - Nanterre. She also holds a Masters in International Human Rights Law from the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex at Colchester.  As part of her Masters degree she participated in the establishment of the Children's Legal Centre's Chidren in Armed Conflict Unit. Since 2000 she has worked for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in various capacities, including in the Division for Treaty Affairs. Since 2005, she has been the officer responsible for the development and expansion of UNODC's policy work and programme of technical assistance to developing countries in the area of juvenile justice and child victims and witnesses of crime. As such she has been a key player in strengthening the Interagency Panel on Juvenile Justice, established by the Economic and Social Council in 1997 and which brings together UN agencies and NGOs working in the provision of technical assistance in this area with a view to increased co-ordination and efficacy (www.juvenilejusticepanel.org). She is representing the Panel at the Stockholm Conference.

  • Ms. Salla Saastamoinen, European Commission, Head of Civil Justice Unit

Salla Saastamoinen studied law at the University of Helsinki, Finland (Master in 1989 and Licentiate in 1993) and at the University of Saarland, Germany (Certificate on European Studies in 1990). She worked as a research fellow and lecturer in several universities from 1992 to 1994 and as an Associate Partner in the law office Environmental and Business Lawyers Alanen, Marttinen & Saastamoinen from 1994 to 1996. She also is the author of numerous publications for environmental law and European law. Ms Saastamoinen currently is the Head of Unit Civil Justice in the Directorate General Justice, Freedom and Security, European Commission since 2007. The mission of the Unit is to contribute to the creation of the European area of justice by developing the judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters through elaboration, preparation and follow-up of the initiatives to implement the Tampere Conclusions of 1999, the Programme on Mutual Recognition of 2000 as well as the Hague Programme of 2004, including in the field of Community's external competences. Salla Saastamoinen has worked in the Commission for 12 years, first in the legal unit of the Directorate General Environment and then in the Directorate General Justice, Freedom and Security in the unit Fundamental rights and citizenship, before taking her current post. 

  • Ms. Stefanie Schmahl

Stefanie Schmahl was born in 1969 in Mainz (Germany), and studied law in Mainz, Heidelberg, Geneva. She also obtained diploma in comparative law from the Académie Internationale de Droit Comparé in Strasbourg (1993) and an LL.M. degree from the Universidad Autónoma in Barcelona (1995). In 1996 she received a PhD from the University of Mainz, and in 2004 the post-doctoral lecture qualification (Habilitation) from the University of Potsdam. In the following years she was a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Tuebingen, Regensburg, Bremen and Duesseldorf. Since October 2007 she has been a Full Professor of German and Foreign Public Law, Public International Law and European Law at the University of Wuerzburg (Germany). Stefanie Schmahl is the author and editor of books and articles on international, European Community and German public law.

  • Ms. Veronica M. Smits

Veronica M. Smits has been working since 2003 as a lecturer and researcher at Tilburg University, department of Private Law, section of Family and Youth law. In particular, she is working on a research on participation of children in hearings and the representation of children in family court proceedings in Dutch law. Veronica M. Smits also worked as a lawyer in a closed penitentiary institution for juvenile delinquents and children with serious behavioural problems and as a solicitor in two law firms specialised in family and youth law, criminal law and as a lawyer at the Dutch Forensic Institution for Psychology and Psychiatry. From 1994 to 2000, she occasionally participated in the district court of Rotterdam as a substitute juvenile judge in family affairs. Since 1996, she has occasionally worked as a substitute judge in a district court of Den Bosch. She is a member of the Programme Advisory Board of the Dutch department of the NGO Defence for Children International. Other relevant additional functions are: Advisor of various research institutes for children with behavioural problems and Chairwoman of two boards to which clients in youth welfare organisations can complain.

  • Ms. Ksenija Turkovic

Ksenija Turkovic is Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Zagreb. She obtained a LL.M degree in 1989) a J.S.D. in 1996 from Yale Law School. She is a Member of New York State Bar since 1996. Since 1987, she has lectured on criminal law, criminology, victimology and health law at the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb. Legal Counsel, Hunton & Williams, NY, NY (1998-2000); Associate in General Corporate Practice, Sullivan & Cromwell, NY, NY (1995-1996); National Coordinator for European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics, National Coordinator for the International Crime Victim Survey (UNICRI), Co-director of the NATO Workshop on “The Role of Humanitarian Victimology in Preventing Terrorism“ (2005); Vice-president of the Committee of the Experts on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PC-ES), Council of Europe (2006/07); Croatian Center for Human Rights, President of the Board, Co-director of the course on “International Criminal Law," Inter-University Center, Dubrovnik, Croatia. She has published 7 books, over 40 articles; over 50 communications to scientific meetings.

  • Mr. Lars Werkström

Lars Werkström was born in 1961 in Lund (Sweden). He studied law in Uppsala (Master of Law in 1988) and later at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva (Diplôme d´Études Supérieures in 1993). He became an associated judge of the Court of Appeal of Stockholm in 1995, after which he was recruited to the Division of Penal Law of the Ministry of Justice. Since 2003 he has worked as Director General for International Affairs.

  • Mr. Jean Zermatten

Jean Zermatten was President and Dean of the juvenile Court of the Canton of Valais (Switzerland) from 1980 to 2005. He is the Founder and Director of the International Institute for the Rights of the Child in Sion and has been Lecturer at the University of Fribourg. He has initiated and launched the Executive Master on Children’s Rights, in collaboration with the University of Fribourg and the Institut Universitaire Kurt Bösch. He is Vice-Chair of the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child since 2005. Mr Zermatten has been the President of the Swiss society for the criminal law for juveniles as well as the President of the International Association of Magistrates for Youth and Family (IAMYF). He drafted the 1st draft unified Law for the criminal Procedure for Minors in Switzerland and an inter-cantonal concordat on the implementation of measures for young offenders. He collaborated on the creation of the first Swiss children’s rights network, gathering more than 50 Swiss NGOs.

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