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The Role of National Courts in Promoting Children’s Rights

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The Case of Norway

image of The International Journal of Children's Rights

National courts have a central role to play in the implementation of children’s rights. In this article, decisions of the Norwegian Supreme court in criminal cases and immigration cases are discussed. They shed interesting light on issues under article 3, such as whether the courts should base their judgment on the present facts, the balancing of the child’s best interests against other considerations, and whether article 3 is self-executing and justiciable. The consequences of a child not being heard are considered. Criminal and immigration cases both contain strong societal interests, but the willingness to give priority to children’s rights seems to differ in the two areas.

Affiliations: 1: Professor of Law, University of Oslo, Norway Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child


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1. Rt. 2012, p. 2039, the Bosnia case, immigration.
2. Rt. 2012, p. 1985, the Iran case, immigration.
3. Rt. 2012, p. 274, pretrial custody.
4. Rt. 2012, p. 146.
5. Rt. 2011, p. 769.
6. Rt. 2011, p. 206, robbery II.
7. Rt. 2010, p. 1313, robbery I
8. Meld.St.27 (2011–2012), Barn på flukt (on asylum-seeking and refugee children) (Report from the Government to Parliament).
9. Innst.57 S (2012–2013), Report from a Parliamentary Committee to Parliament on Meld.St.27 (2011–2012) on asylum-seeking and refugee children).
10. (2006–2007), Om lov om utlendingers adgang til riket og deres opphold her (utlendingsloven) (Bill on the new Immigration Act).
11. (2007–2008), om lov om utlendingers adgang til riket og deres opphold her (utlendingsloven) (Parliamentary report on the new Immigration Act).
12. General Comment No. 5 (2003), General Measures of Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Committee on the Rights of the Child.
13. General Comment No. 6 (2005), Treatment of Unaccompanied and Separated Children Outside Their Country of Origin, Committee on the Rights of the Child.
14. General Comment No. 10 (2007), Children’s rights in juvenile justice, Committee on the Rights of the Child.
15. General Comment No. 14 (2013), on the right of the child to have his or her best interests taken as a primary consideration (art. 3, para. 1), Committee on the Rights of the Child.
16. Travaux preparatoires of the crc, Second reading (1988–89).
17. Butt v. Norway (2012), European Court of Human Rights, Application no. 47017/09.

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