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International rights of the child


This course offers a critical examination of children’s rights in an international context, focusing around the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989. It also includes a detailed examination of the theory of children’s rights and provides analysis of how they are transposed into law and legal practice.

This course highlights some of the current problems in policies and practices relating to children, searches for a coherent theoretical basis in this area, and applies it to a range of children’s issues.

The aim is for you to develop a more child-centred understanding of children’s rights and child law, and be able to use that understanding and knowledge to engage critically with policies and practices which impact on children’s lives.

This course begins by introducing you to the theoretical basis of children's rights.

Module A: Theoretical issues and children’s rights mechanisms


  • An introduction to children’s rights and constructions of ‘the child’
  • The theoretical basis of children’s rights
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989
  • Regional children’s rights mechanisms
  • Children’s rights in English domestic law

Module B: The core principles of children's rights mechanisms


  • The best interests principle
  • The right to life, survival and development
  • Children’s participation rights (1) – general principles
  • Children’s participation rights (2) – case studies
  • Non-discrimination

Module C: Specific issues in children’s rights (1)


  • The child, the family, and identity
  • Children and the labour market
  • The right to education
  • Children and religion

Module D: Specific issues in children’s rights (2)


  • Juvenile justice
  • Exploitation, sale of children and child pornography
  • Street children
  • Refugee and asylum-seeking children
  • Children and armed conflict


Each module will be assessed by a 45-minute unseen written examination.


It is strongly recommended you attempt the modules in order.

How to apply

You can apply to study a module individually as a standalone unit or as part of a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Laws qualification. (In either scenario, they must be studied in order.)

These modules also contribute towards the following specialist pathways for Laws:

  • Family Law
  • Human Rights Law
  • International Dispute Resolution
  • Law and Development
  • Public International Law

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.

Academic Co-ordinator

Rob George academic coordinator

Dr Rob George

Dr Rob George is Reader in Family Law at University College London and a Barrister at Harcourt Chambers in London. His research specialises in international children matters, including child relocation and child abduction, and he teaches family law and children’s rights at undergraduate and Masters level.

He is co-author of the leading textbook Family Law: Text, Cases and Materials and author of a number of specialist texts including Relocation Disputes: Law and Practice in England and New Zealand.