The rights of children in juvenile justice systems have developed steadily over several decades through a variety of international and European legal instruments. Most of the key principles underpinning juvenile justice and the rights of child suspects and accused are enshrined in these standards, only some of which are binding and directly enforceable. Directive 2016/800 on procedural safeguards for children who are suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings (the Children Directive), which was adopted in 2016, is designed to reaffirm the same principles in a binding legal measure which practitioners across the EU can refer to more easily.
This Toolkit is a guide for lawyers and other practitioners working with children in conflict with the law, especially as they use the Children Directive in domestic litigation. It provides an overview of the relevant provisions of the Directive, as well as more detailed information about the ways in which the Directive can be used to assert and defend the rights of children in conflict with the law at different stages of criminal proceedings.