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Children Notes

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Children's Rights What is childhood?

When it begins o Childhood in law begins at the birth of the child o The foetus is not considered "a child" but per St George's Healthcare Trust it is a "unique organism" protected "in a variety of ways" by the law
? However, the mother can choose to have a lawful abortion and the father can do nothing about this (C v S)

When it ends o Children Act 1989:
? S.105 "a person under eighteen" o But this is not necessarily the end
? 16 year olds can marry with parental permission
? And you cannot adopt until age 21. Parent's Rights, Responsibilities and Discretion

Parental Rights - the difficulties in the definition o There is a lot of talk of "parental responsibility" in the Children Act - possibly to emphasise that children are not possessions but people to be cared for
? But s.3(1) "In this Act "parental responsibility" means all rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority

Which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property"
? Herring: so parents also have rights as well!
o Two important distinctions
? Firstly, we need to distinguish when talking about parent's rights:

The rights a parent may have as a human being. o These will be called a parent's human rights and would include e.g. free speech, right to life

From what we actually mean: the rights that a parent may have b/c she/he is a parent. o These will be called parent's parental rights and include deciding where the child will live.
? Secondly when talking about parental rights, we need to be clear what we mean. E.g. parent's right to feed a child could mean three things:


1. This could mean that third parties or the state cannot prevent the parent carrying out this particular activity o - no-one is entitled to prevent a parent feeding the child what food the parent believes appropriate


2. Or it could mean that the state must enable the parent to perform this activity o So the State is obliged to ensure that parents have enough money to so they can provide enough money to fulfil the child's needs


3. Or it means that the acts of parents are lawful. o This means that although it may be unlawful for a stranger to feed the child, the parental right means it isn't unlawful for a parent to feed a child.

Are parent's rights and responsibilities linked?
o Some views

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