This manual has been designed as a component of the Advancing the Defence Rights of Children training programme, to serve two purposes:
- To be used as a source of information and knowledge for training providers interested in delivering the training programme to local lawyers; and
- To be used as a helpful resource for practicing lawyers, as a guide that will help them understand the law as well as the practical aspects of assisting children in conflict with the law.
This manual is broadly divided into two sections. The first section (Chapters 1 and 2) focuses on the law, and it explains the core principles and standards on children’s rights found in the Children Directive, as well as in various other international and regional instruments. It also explains how these principles and standards apply at various stages of juvenile justice proceedings. The second section provides multi-disciplinary and skills-based guidance on how to assist child suspects and accused persons. It includes, inter alia, a basic introduction to child psychology and development and guidance on how to communicate with children. Fair Trials believes that these are essential skills and knowledge that lawyers would find helpful to give effect their child clients’ rights.
The manual is designed to be as helpful as possible to practicing lawyers by highlighting important ‘Dos and Don’ts’, tips, and useful facts.
Fair Trials recognises that this manual does not, on its own, provide complete training for lawyers working with child suspects and accused persons. There is a need for more extensive training that is relevant to local challenges, and we strongly believe that skills-based training can only be delivered effectively through interactive training, delivered by suitably experienced trainers. However, we hope that by consulting this manual, practicing lawyers will be better informed about the rights of children, and be more alert to the practical steps they can take to safeguard their interests.