Where we came from
The Children’s Legal Centre grew from the work of the Observatory on Children’s Human Rights. The Observatory works on embedding rights through organisational and strategic change, on methods of empowering children to conduct research and on international human rights treaty monitoring. However, despite Wales’ progressive legislative and policy framework on children’s human rights, it was the only UK nation not to have a children’s legal centre!
In 2016, with the help of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and collaborative engagement with many people and organisations, the Children’s Legal Centre was launched. From this point the CLC has captured a number of grants and donations to develop aspects of its work as well as for overall business development. We have been supported by the Legal Education Foundation and Legal Education Research Network, and have the ongoing support of Swansea University.
Although the CLC is still in early days of development, we are now able to offer legal advice through the Swansea Law Clinic. We will launch the first stage of our Legal Information Project at the Senedd on the 20th June 2018. This provides information to children and young people about the law in areas such as education, housing and health. To see this information please go to How the Law Affects Me.
We are working with other law schools, lawyers and anyone who wants to make children’s human rights a reality and make the law accessible to children. Please get in touch if you would like to be part of our growing network of supporters or if you would benefit from any of our services.
Why we do what we do
Despite Wales’ commitment to the human rights of children, evident in the passing of the Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011, there is not enough publicly available information, advice and support, especially for children and young people, on the law in Wales. Research conducted by youth and civil society organisations for the periodic state Party examinations under the UNCRC showed children and young people having low levels of knowledge of, and lack access to information about, the law. Additionally, our snapshot survey in 2016 found that of 150 11-18 year olds, 106 didn’t think they were given enough opportunities to learn about law and the most likely places young people would go for legal advice were the internet and their parents. Not one respondent said they would go to a lawyer!
We’ve learned too from organisations that provide advocacy, helplines or other support to children, like the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Meic, NYAS and Tros Gynnal Plant, that lack of legal advice and information is a problem. And we’ve learned from practising lawyers that they are ready to help. So, the reason we do what we do is simple: we have identified a need; we have found people who want to work together to meet that need and we have found a way to start to make it happen.