The Centre for Child Law was established in 1998 and is based in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria. The Director of the Centre is Prof Ann Skelton.
The Centre contributes towards the establishment and promotion of the best interests of children in South Africa through litigation, advocacy, research and education.
The Centre is registered as a Law Clinic and through strategic impact litigation aims to set legal precedent to improve and strengthen laws pertaining to children.
Download Annual Report 2015
Making room: Facilitating the testimony of child witnesses and victims
This report comes almost five years after the Constitutional Court emphasised the need for special arrangements to be made for child witnesses and victims that testify in court.
The report considers data eminating from multiple sources which assist in determining whether the state has complied with the Constitutional Court order to improve court services for child witnesses and victims. A number of sources are considered, including the 2009 report submitted by the Department to the Court, a 2012 survey report commissioned by the Centre, a 2014 Presentation: Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional services provided by the Department of Justice.
A number of concerns are raised including the fact that the method of collecting and recording of information by the Department is inconsistent; lack of accommodation resulting in some courts not having separate waiting rooms for children; lack of job security for intermediaries; lack of toys to keep children busy; lack if refreshments for children.
Download the publication
Summary of the Constitutional Court judgment
Children at the centre: A guide to the registration of Child and Youth Care Centres
Despite the fact that the Children's Act 38 of 2005 has been in operation for nearly three years, many child care facilities (including facilities previously referred to as children's homes) have not registered as child and youth care centres as prescribed by the Act.
The Centre saw the need to provide some assistance in the registration process and therefore put together a practical manual on registration of Child and Youth Care Centres.
The aim of this manual is to provide practical guidance to child care facilities through clarifying the registration requirements and procedures to be followed and through addressing the 'frequently asked questions'.
"[A]ll the facilities recognised the importance of registration but were, without exception, crippled by the lack of information on the registration requirements and procedures..."
Download the manual
MR v Minister of Safety & Security, Constitutional Court, case no CCT 151/15 (11 August 2016)
The Constitutional Court confirmed the principle that the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration must be applied by an arresting officer dealing with a child.
Nicole Breytenbach N.O. v Minister of Home Affairs and Others, North Gauteng High Court, case no 50365/14 (27 May 2016)
The North Gauteng High court confirmed children's right to South African citizenship if a parent is a South African citizen in terms of the South African Citizenship Act 88 of 1995. View Judgment
Upcoming Cases and Events
The 7th Annual Child Law Moot Court Competition will be held on the 9th and 10th of September 2016. Invitations and case facts to follow.
Search the Centre for Child Law
18 August 2016
Dismay at treatment of young offenders
The Centre for Child Law is dismayed at the treatment of young offenders who were transferred to prison in December last year, despite being sentenced to compulsory residence in a child and youth care centre (CYCC), formerly known as a reform school. The aim of CYCCs is to offer a therapeutic programme designed to develop and care for children securely in terms of a court order.
However, these children were transferred to prison due to the failure of the CYCC to manage them adequately. They have spent the last eight months langusihing in jail and have been denied the same treatment as adult prisoners, such as receiving vistors.
The Centre for Child Law represented these children in an effort to have them released from jail. The Centre received a judgement on Thursday 18 October 2016. The court ordered that the children be transferred to yet another jail without any time periods in place, while new magistrates considered their sentences once again. The Centre is deeply disappointed with this outcome.
Please see our press release for full details and for quotes from our Director, Ann Skelton.
For further information, please call Stanley at the Centre for Child Law on 012 420 4502 or email Stanley.Malematja@up.ac.za.