Children - Legal advice PDF Print E-mail

Legal Advice for Children      

Here you can find out more about the law in any of the following situations. For example, what are your rights at school, or what are your rights if you have broken the law? These are just general outlines.

Please contact us if you have any questions, or require more assistance.

Dr  Ann Skelton
Tel:  +27 12 420 4502
Fax: +27 12 420 4499
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Breaking the Law

You need to remember that if you are in trouble with the law that you still have the right to be treated fairly and with respect. This includes being given the opportunity to get your life back on track, and to make the wrong that you have done right. The first offence may result in a reprimand, warning, diversion or charge.

Your rights include:

  • Not being tortured or, punished in a cruel inhumane way; and no person under the age of 18 may be given the death penalty or life imprisonment without possible release. But in South Africa there is no death penalty anymore.
  • Not being detained or imprisoned without good reason.
  • Should you be put in prison you must be treated with dignity and respect, you must be kept separate from adults, and your privacy must be respected.
  • You should be kept in prison for the shortest possible time. This means that you should be allowed legal help as soon after arrest as possible, and given a fair trial in court, if you are charged.

You need to also remember that you have the right to be seen as innocent until you have been proven guilty. You cannot be forced to speak in court, or forced to say that you are guilty. You are also allowed to question people who give evidence against you, call a person to give evidence on your behalf, and have everything that is said in court explained to you in a language that you understand.

This is a very brief overview of your rights when in trouble with the law.

Protection from Abuse     

You have a right to be protected from any kind of abuse, from anyone who might try to hurt you physically or emotionally.

This includes being protected from exploitation – for example where you are forced to work for little or no money.

You should also be protected from any sort of sexual abuse. This includes watching pornographic material, being forced to take part in a sexual act (like being touched in a place you don’t want to be touched, or being asked to touch someone else), being forced to have sex with someone else, or even being forced to become a prostitute.

This could be caused by someone you know very well. But it is still not right. It is okay to say no, and it is better to tell someone you can trust, as soon as possible. Remember, that you are not to blame.

 

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Latest News

16 October 2017

Winners of 2017 Child Law Moot Court Competition

Winner of Best Team 2017

University of Pretoria represented by Nicholas Herd and Motlotleng Sebola

 Best team 2017

 

Winner of Best Heads of Argument 2017

 University of Johannesburg represented by Ntokozo Sobikwa and Takudzwa Dente

 Best heads 2017

 

Winner of Best Oralist 2017

 Takudzwa Dente, University of Johannesburg

 Best oralist 2017

The Centre for Child Law hosted its 8th Annual Child Law Moot Court Competition on 13 and 14 October 2017. 8 Universities participated in the competition: University of the Witwatersrand; University of the Free State; University of Cape Town; University of South Africa; University of Pretoria; North West University; Rhodes University and University of Johannesburg. We had the assistance of academics, attorneys and advocates who were judges in the preliminary and semi-final rounds of the competition.

The teams were impressive and set a very high standard.

The final round of the competition was held at the High Court of South Africa, Pretoria in Court Room C of the Palace of Justice. Court Room C was used because of its historical significance. This was the Court Room in which the Rivonia trial was held.

The University of Cape Town and University of Pretoria made it to the final round as the two finalists. The two teams argued in front of Judge Tolmay of the High Court, Pretoria; Judge Kollapen of the High Court, Pretoria (currently acting at the Constitutional Court); and Ms Corlett Letlojane the Executive Director of the Human Rights Institute of South Africa. University of Pretoria emerged as the Best Team of 2017. The runners up were University of Cape Town, represented by Nigel Patel and Andrew Attieh.

 

Centre for Child Law