Verdict backing children's rights in police custody

Published: Thursday 25th April 2013

Coram Children’s Legal Centre (CCLC) is delighted with a landmark judgment upholding the rights of 17-year-olds to be treated as children in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child when held in police custody

Carolyn Hamilton, Director of International Programmes and Research at CCLC said:

“We are very pleased with the judgment and now call on the UK Government to rectify this unlawful, discriminatory anomaly in the criminal justice system and its codes of practice, to bring them into line with children’s rights without delay.”

Her statement came after Lord Justice Moses held that the UK Government’s practice of treating 17-year-olds as adults, the failure to inform the parents of their child’s arrest and the failure to provide an independent, appropriate adult to 17-year-old children when detained and questioned at a police station about alleged criminal offences as “inconsistent with the UNCRC and the views of the United Nations Committee of the Rights of the Child”.

CCLC acted as neutral intervenors in the case, which challenged the current position during a test case brought by a south London teenager, who was 17 when he was arrested last April on suspicion of stealing a mobile phone. He was held for more than 11 hours in custody and his parents prevented from talking to him before he was eventually released without charge.

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