The Refugee Children's Rights Project (RCRP) was a partnership between Coram Children's Legal Centre and Islington Law Centre, supported by the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. The project combined strategic litigation with rights-based policy advocacy to ensure that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is at the heart of child asylum processes and social care practices. Building on existing legal and policy networks, the project promoted sharing and coordination of legal knowledge and expertise amongst professionals working with children and young people seeking protection in the
The RCRP was involved in a number of significant cases on children’s rights. The RCRP provided expert second-tier advice and support in the landmark case of ZH (Tanzania) v Secretary of State for the Home Department where the Supreme Court held that the best interests of a child “is a factor…that must rank higher than any other”. This was an extremely significant judgment, raising the bar on procedural safeguards in decision-making; it has since been relied on a number of key decisions in education, disability, welfare and criminal law. In December 2010 the RCRP was granted permission to intervene in the European Court of Human Rights case Malla v
Alongside strategic litigation, the RCRP undertook policy advocacy, playing a key part in the work of the Refugee Children’s Consortium. The project included expert roundtables on the best interests of refugee children and guardianship for separated children, and contributed to a number of research publications and guides, including the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association guide, Working with refugee children: Current issues in best practice.
The Refugee Children’s Rights Project drew to a close in 2012 but Coram Children’s Legal Centre will continue its strategic litigation and policy work as part of the Migrant Children’s Project, supported by legacy funding from the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.