First face-to-face session of the NIJ Human Rights Forum on Justice for Children

Practical issues and challenges in court proceedings involving children were discussed at the first session of the NIJ Human Rights Forum held in Sofia on 2 May 2023. The discussion was attended by 50 representatives of institutions and NGOs, court trainers, judges, prosecutors, lawyers and experts who are part of the Justice for Children Professional Community established last year. The Director of the Institute, Ms. Miglena Tacheva, highlighted the role of this community as instrumental for the implementation of a multidisciplinary and systematic approach in the training of professionals working on cases with children to ensure justice consistent with the rights and interests of the child.

Judge Rieke Lassen from District Court Oslo presented the experience of the Norwegian judicial system in cases involving children. Judge Lassen’s presentation triggered a lively discussion on issues related to the right of the child to be informed and heard in the judicial proceedings.

The Forum provided an opportunity for a multi-professional debate and exchange of experience and good practices on current issues and challenges related to the implementation and the application of international standards for child-friendly justice in civil and criminal proceedings. The specialization of judges and prosecutors dealing with cases involving minors, the implementation of specialized practice-oriented judicial training in this area and the application of an integrated and coordinated approach in the activities of the competent state bodies were outlined as key prerequisites for ensuring child-friendly justice. Particularly useful was the shared experience of the judges from the specialized panels for work with children in the Sofia District Court, the District Court and Varna District Court..

The discussion was held within the framework of Activity 4 of the project “Modern learning environment for judges, prosecutors, investigating magistrates and other legal professionals”, implemented by the National Institute of Justice and funded under the Justice Programme of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021. The partner in this activity is the Norwegian Courts Administration.

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