‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ written by JK Rowling, is the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series. Harry Potter is a boy who finds out on his eleventh birthday that he is a wizard and will be going to school at Hogwarts. The books see Harry Potter and his two friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, face many challenges at their school.

However, there is one wizard that has turned bad and threatens the lives of all witches and wizards. He is called Lord Voldemort. In this last book, Harry, Ron and Hermione set out to destroy Voldemort, to stop him from taking over the wizarding world. They all decide to leave their homes, before the age of 18, to find Horcruxes. Do you think that you can leave home before turning 18 and becoming an adult? The law in Wales, recognises childhood as developmental, which means that it allows children to acquire capabilities at different stages in their lives. No two children are the same and the law recognises this. This is known as evolving capacity.

Your rights in Wales

The Welsh Government has signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, (this is often referred to as the UNCRC). This means that they have signed a convention, which gives children rights.

One of your rights is to have your evolving capacity taken into consideration. This can be found in Article 5 of the UNCRC. ‘Parental and caregiver control over children must be ‘appropriate’ taking into account the child’s development and evolving capacity’. Evolving capacity seeks to find a balance between letting children live their own lives and choosing when to exercise their rights and protecting vulnerable individuals due to their immaturity and youth.

What happens if I want to exercise my right of evolving capacity?

The UNCRC recognises that as children grow and develop, their competence evolves, and parents or caregivers must adjust their guidance to enable children to take more control over their lives. The aim of development is to promote and enhance not only the wellbeing, but also the capacities of children, and the Welsh government have clear obligations to take appropriate measures to achieve that goal for all children. The UNCRC can be a tool for promoting children’s development, competence and choices.

Harry, Ron and Hermione demonstrate their evolving maturity throughout the series by showing resilience when fighting dark wizards and handling death. They have allowed these instances to make them stronger and more determined to defeat Voldemort.

Harry has had to handle death from a young age, growing up without his mother and father who were killed by Voldemort. Harry has demonstrated his maturity by being able to not only cope with his parent’s death but also with having to live with his Aunt and Uncle who mistreat him.

Hermione has shown her maturity through her knowledge of the wizarding world despite having Muggle parents. She is renowned for being the brightest witch in her year and is easily able to apply her knowledge when she and her friends are facing challenges.

Ron has demonstrated his maturity through the multiple occasions that he has faced his fears. In the second book ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ Ron followed a trail of spiders alongside Harry, despite them being his biggest fear.

These combined acts are examples of how Harry, Ron and Hermione, each demonstrate their maturity, which would be taken into consideration by their caregivers when deciding how much control they have over their lives. Young people can demonstrate their maturity in a similar way such as: handling grief, facing challenges and fears and making informed decisions.

Protecting your rights in Wales

You have now seen that the law in Wales is designed to protect children but also allow them to live happy lives. The law recognises that children develop at different rates which allows for flexibility when a child wants to exercise their rights.

Look out for more blogs in the ‘Reading my Rights‘ series.

I am Megan and I am currently studying law at Swansea University. After I finish my degree, I hope to be a successful practising solicitor.