Written by Professor Morag Treanor with input from Juliet Harris of Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)
Today is Universal Children’s Day and the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The UNCRC is a charter comprising 42 articles that set out the human rights to which all children are entitled. It was ratified by every country in the world with the exception of the USA. Although ratified, the UNCRC in the UK was not incorporated into domestic law, which means that children’s rights in the UK have no legal power. The lack of incorporation of the UNCRC into UK or Scots law has meant that whilst courts have found some welfare policies to be in breach of children’s UNCRC rights there has been nothing that the court can do to provide remedy. For example, the ‘benefits cap’, introduced under the Welfare Reform Act 2012, was found to be in breach of the UNCRC in 2015 but the court had no power to provide any form of redress. In Scotland this may be about to change.