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Bettering the Best Interests of the Child Determination: Of Checklists and Balancing Exercises

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The paper compares European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and UK court judgments on cross-border nationality cases concerning children and wholly domestic family law cases regarding children (without the cross-border element). It identifies different legal standards that apply to the well-being of children such as the best interests principle and the welfare principle and maps how successful these standards are in bringing in the views of children. It appears that cross-border nationality cases are unable to consider the interests of children as seriously as the wholly domestic family law cases. The domestic court approach of welfare brings in children’s views more effectively than nationality cases in domestic courts or at the ECtHR. It would benefit children if a rigorous best interests determination is carried out in nationality proceedings and a welfare approach is adopted consistent with family law cases.

Affiliations: 1: University of Bristol Law School, Bristol, UK, ; 2: University of Bristol Law School, Bristol, UK,


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