Exploring the child's right to social security

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Article 26 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child protects the child’s right to “benefit from social security.” As the Committee on the Rights of the Child has yet to issue any interpretative guidance, this rather bare statement demands elaboration. This paper explores what the child’s right to social security might mean in practice, particularly in the UK context. Reference is made to other UNCRC provisions and rights conferred by other instruments, notably the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, European Social Charter and European Convention on Human Rights as well as UK and ECHR case law. The normative content of the right can be tied closely to the child’s right to development, an adequate standard of living and to have his or her best interests treated as a primary consideration, general rights to social security and social assistance, the right to family protection and the right to respect for family life. Ultimately, any hope of an enforceable right in the UK depends on the ECHR, with article 8 the most likely vehicle for a child’s right to social security. Recent case law hints that the courts may be taking small steps towards carving out space in article 8 for such a right, albeit in conjunction with article 3(1) UNCRC (the best interests of the child) rather than article 26. However, it is observed that to date the right to family life has been more effectively deployed in defence of existing entitlements than as a means of asserting a social floor for households with dependent children. The paper considers the scope for a more ambitious interpretation and highlights the need for a more clearly defined right to underpin future empirical research into whether it is fulfilled in practice.
Period28 Mar 2018
Event titleSocio Legal Studies Association Conference 2018
Event typeConference
LocationBristol, United KingdomShow on map