Legal Advocacy

We want a world where all children can enjoy all their human rights so they can enjoy their lives with equality, dignity and respect.

Used alone, traditional campaigning methods such as protests, media drives, letter writing and report writing have not done enough.

We promote the use of stronger advocacy methods, including legal advocacy, to advance children’s rights. Here you will find information on what legal advocacy is and how you could use it.

What is legal advocacy?  

Legal advocacy is a pathway for challenging abuses of rights that are based on absent or weak laws, or on laws that represent an abuse of rights in and of themselves. This might include encouraging a government to create a law against a particular violation of rights, asking for the issuing of guidelines on the enforcement of a particular law, or calling for the abolition of legislation that protects the perpetrators of a violation (such as laws that give adults a "right" to corporal punishment of children). Legal advocacy is an important, sometimes neglected, tool for rights defenders and is one that can be used both in isolation and alongside more traditional political and social advocacy techniques to advance children’s rights.  

Legal advocacy includes a variety of methods, such as:

  • Strategic litigation, sometimes also called impact litigation, which involves selecting and bringing a case to the courtroom with the goal of creating broader changes in society. For more information, see our strategic litigation page.

  • Working through legislatures to change existing laws or have new laws brought in. This could involve directly working with national representatives or engaging with committees and other elements of the law making process.

  • Legal and quasi-legal representation of those who have a grievance on an issue that touches on the law.

  • Engaging with legally involved representatives such as ombudspersons to lobby them for advances in children’s rights.   

Why we need strong legal advocacy to challenge violations of children’s rights – and what do we mean by legal advocacy?

Peter Newell, Coordinator of the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, explained CRIN's increasing focus on encouraging effective legal advocacy of children's rights globally during CRIN's latest legal advocacy workshop in Dar Es Salaam on 21 January 2015.

You can access the speech here.

Legal Advocacy Workshop Programme

Since 2011, CRIN has been working on a series of workshops in different parts of the world to bring together campaigners, from both legal and non-legal backgrounds, to explore the possibilities of legal advocacy to advance children's rights. For more information, see our legal advocacy workshops page.

Run your own workshop: CRIN's legal advocacy resources

Legal Advocacy Workshops
CRIN's guide to children, the law and legal systems
CRIN's "access to justice for children" project
CRIN's children's rights wiki