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Children’s Law Centre Annual Lecture 2019

Published 9 May 2019. By Kym Horner

Each year the Children’s Law Centre invites a leading figure to deliver a lecture on the human rights arena with particular focus on children’s rights issues children’s rights issues. After an inspiring lecture by Mikiko Otani in 2018, the 2019 lecture was given by special guest speaker and President of the UK Supreme Court, Lady Brenda Hale.

Lady Hale has been recognised as a champion of diversity within the legal profession – as the first woman and youngest judge to become a Law Lord, she was the first female Justice of the Supreme Court when it was established in 2009 and became the first female President in 2017.

Lady Hale is a specialist in the areas of family law, social welfare law and children’s rights. Her work has been influential in protecting the rights of women in the family and the state, and has played an instrumental role in introducing the Children’s Act 1989.*

In her lecture for the Children’s Law Centre, Lady Hale posed the question ‘how well are we doing’ with regards to respecting the rights of disabled children in accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. She discussed the legal problems typically encountered by such individuals, specifically difficulties in accessing necessary public services and challenges to the rules governing welfare benefits – ­the full transcript from the lecture can be viewed here.

Lady Hale’s closing comments: “Children in Northern Ireland are fortunate that they have the Children’s Law Centre which is dedicated to championing their rights both individually and collectively. I salute you.”

Kathryn Stevenson, Head of Legal Services at the Children’s Law Centre, commented: “(Lady Hale) has taken monumental strides to increase recognition of and respect for children as autonomous rights holders, to whom duty bearers are answerable and often legally accountable.”

The lecture was chaired by Mrs Justice Keegan, with additional commentary provided by Paddy Kelly, Director of the Children’s Law Centre, and Anne Marie Kelly, Chair of the CLC Management Committee. Photographs from the event can be found below, published with kind permission from the Children’s Law Centre.

The Children’s Law Centre works to protect the rights of children and young people, ensuring they have access to all relevant services available to them. MKB Law Director and head of Family Law, Anne Marie Kelly, is Chair of the CLC Management Committee.


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