The Centre for Child Law celebrates 20 Years of “Imagining Children Constitutionally

In December 2018, the Centre hosted a conference to celebrate 20 years of utilising strategic impact litigation, advocacy and research to set legal precedent to improve and strengthen laws pertaining to children. The conference ran under the theme: “Imagining children constitutionally: 20 years of strategic litigation and advocacy”. The deliberations covered the following themes:

  • Constitutionalism of children’s rights
  • Child justice and sexual offences
  • Children’s rights: An African agenda
  • Corporal punishment, children and migration
  • Jurisprudence arising from children’s rights instruments

The Centre was privileged to have Justice Sisi Khampepe, Justice Albie Sachs, Judge Jody Kollapen, Prof Benyam Mezmur and Advocate Steven Budlender to speak at openings of different sessions of the conference. The Centre’s former child clients also spoke about being empowered through legal representation and having an opportunity to express their views in cases that affected their lives.

The conference was attended by friends and colleagues of the Centre from different organisations and academic institutions around the world, including several African countries, who have all contributed to the advancement of children’s rights and focused on the use of litigation as to tool to advance children’s rights. The Centre is currently working on publishing a special commemorative journal of papers presented at the Conference and this way to contribute to the academic field of Child Law.

In preparation for the conference and to document the Centre’s work in the last 20 Years, a publication was produced titled “20 Years of Imagining Children Constitutionally – Strategic Litigation and Advocacy for Children’s Rights in South Africa”. This publication gives a description of the Centre’s impact litigation, advocacy and research work over the last 20 years and the impact that it has made. A copy of the publication is available here.