Against the Dilution of a Child's Voice in Court

21 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2011 Last revised: 6 Mar 2011


Children's voices have been diluted in the court system, as the dominant paradigm in children's legal theory has too often overlooked the voices of our youth. The dilution of children's voices in the courtroom is not only disempowering and disenfranchising to children, but is also misguided. In the United States, there is no uniform standard for the role of the child's attorney. Instead there are multiple models of lawyering for children throughout the states.

This Article first examines the currently existing American child attorney paradigms through the lens of international norms and the written ideals of the CRC treaty, arguing that without the child's right to be heard codified into American law, the United States is not consonant with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the - CRC), Article 12. The Article then examines the laws of New York State as an additional backdrop and also to propose forward-thinking and child rights-oriented statutes.

Ultimately, this article emphasizes the fundamental importance and essence of listening to our children's true voices in the courtroom. Until children can be fully heard, their voices remain absent, or at best diluted, from the very legal system intended to help them.

Keywords: children, courts

Suggested Citation

Breger, Melissa L., Against the Dilution of a Child's Voice in Court. Indiana International & Comparative Law Review, Vol. 20, No. 2, p. 175, 2010, Albany Law School Research Paper No. 10-42, Available at SSRN:

Melissa L. Breger (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States
518-445-2311 (Phone)

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