Centre for Child Law PDF Print E-mail

Annual report 2013 front cover 1The 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 2014

Making room: Facilitating the testimony of child witnesses and victims

making room jpegThis 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 thCYCC Manual Web pic1at 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


Latest Judgments

Acting Speaker of the National Assembly v Teddy
Bear Clinic for Abused Children and RAPCAN
(CCT 54/15) [2015]  ZACC 16 (15 June 2015)
Constitutional Court grants extension of the period
of suspension of the declaration of invalidity of
sections 15 and 16 of the Criminal Law (Sexual
Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act
32 of 2007
Wayne Coughlan N.O v The Road Accident Fund
(CT 160/14) [2015] ZACC 9 (20 April 2015)
Constitutional Court finds that foster child grants and 
child support grants should not be deducted from 
compensation that RAF is liable to pay to children for 
loss of support resulting from the death of their parents
View Judgment

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Latest News



South Africa, along with the rest of the African continent, celebrated the Day of the African Child on 16 June 2015 under the theme "25 Years after the Adoption of the African Children's Charter: Accelerating our Collective Efforts to End Child Marriage in Africa". The African Children's Charter places an obligation on governments to prohibit any custom, traditional, religious or cultural practices that interfere with the rights and welfare of children. Child marriages jeopardise the safety and well-being of children, it exposes them to health risks and risks of harm and violence.

Recent media reports give sad accounts of girls who are not safe in their communities and homes. They tell of, amongst others, a 14 year old girl who was married off, by her parents, to a man 12 years older than her who raped her and beat her for trying to escape.

Girls are also denied the right to access basic education. The case of S v Jezile is an example of this, the Centre's attorney, Karabo Ozah, made the following comment at the time the judgment was handed down in March 2015:

"...The victim of Jezile's crimes was in her school uniform when she was told to change into 'makoti' (bride's) clothing and in that moment she was forced to relinquish all her children's rights and become an adult. This is a story of failure by family, community and society to protect its own children."

The Centre calls for urgent legislative attention that: strengthens provisions that protect children against harmful cultural practices; ensures a clear and harmonised minimum age of marriage; and clearly criminalises child and forced marriages.

The Centre is also aware that that this issue goes beyond the need for legislative amendments. There need to be more strategic and directed advocacy campaigns that inform communities of the dangers and legal consequences of child marriages and that address the factors that drive parents and families to giv eout girl children to child marriages.

For more info:
Press Release_29.06.2015


Centre for Child Law