Principles and Prospects for a European System of Child Protection

31 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2010

Date Written: April 2010


In the process of restating the principles of European family law currently underway, it should be asked to what extent a common European system of child protection exists and what principles and values it comprises. In our view this system is multi-polar and has to be built from the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), the instruments emanating from the Council of Europe, and especially from European Court of Human Rights case law. The article sets out and discusses the procedural and substantive principles derived from this case law. Although the UN Convention and ECtHR case law – applying the Rome Convention – approach child protection from opposing perspectives (in one case the affirming of children’s rights, and in the other, the right to respect for family autonomy) a trend towards convergence and interaction between Conventions and their monitoring bodies can be discerned in recent ECtHR decisions. The final part of the article assesses this trend and the perspectives for the future.

Keywords: child protection, children’s rights, alternative care, child welfare agencies, family autonomy

Suggested Citation

Ferrer Riba, Josep, Principles and Prospects for a European System of Child Protection (April 2010). InDret, Vol. 02, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Josep Ferrer Riba (Contact Author)

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005
34935422909 (Phone)

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