CRC/C/GC/12 page 9
The greater the impact of the outcome on the life of the child, the more relevant the appropriate assessment of the maturity of that child.
Consideration needs to be given to the notion of the evolving capacities of the
child, and direction and guidance from parents (see para. 84 and sect. C below)
Paragraph 2 of article 12
The right “to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting
Article 12, paragraph 2, specifies that opportunities to be heard have to be
provided in particular “in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child”. The Committee emphasizes that this provision applies to all relevant judicial
proceedings affecting the child, without limitation, including, for example, separation of parents, custody, care and adoption, children in conflict with the law, child victims of physical or psychological violence, sexual abuse or other crimes, health care, social security, unaccompanied children, asylum-seeking and refugee children, and victims of
armed conflict and other emergencies. Typical administrative proceedings include, for example, decisions about children’s education, health, environment, living conditions, or protection. Both kinds of proceedings may involve alternative dispute mechanisms such as mediation and arbitration.
The right to be heard applies both to proceedings which are initiated by the
child, such as complaints against ill-treatment and appeals against school exclusion, as well as to those initiated by others which affect the child, such as parental separation or
adoption. States parties are encouraged to introduce legislative measures requiring decision makers in judicial or administrative proceedings to explain the extent of the consideration given to the views of the child and the consequences for the child.
A child cannot be heard effectively where the environment is intimidating,
hostile, insensitive or inappropriate for her or his age. Proceedings must be both
accessible and child-appropriate. Particular attention needs to be paid to the provision and delivery of child-friendly information, adequate support for self-advocacy, appropriately trained staff, design of court rooms, clothing of judges and lawyers, sight
screens, and separate waiting rooms.
“Either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body”
After the child has decided to be heard, he or she will have to decide how to be
heard: “either directly, or through a representative or appropriate body.” The Committee recommends that, wherever possible, the child must be given the opportunity to be directly heard in any proceedings.
The representative can be the parent(s), a lawyer, or another person (inter alia,
a social worker). However, it must be stressed that in many cases (civil, penal or administrative), there are risks of a conflict of interest between the child and their most obvious representative (parent(s)). If the hearing of the child is undertaken through a representative, it is of utmost importance that the child’s views are transmitted correctly
to the decision maker by the representative. The method chosen should be determined