OCRN Series: Dr. Willene Holness on 'The Best Interests of the Child and Access to Justice for Children in South Africa’s Children’s Courts'
Dr. Willene Holness, Senior Lecturer from the School of Law, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus.
The Oxford Children's Rights Network Series are pleased to welcome Dr. Willene Holness, Senior Lecturer from the School of Law, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus, to present her paper on the best interests of the children and access to justice for children in South Africa's Children's Courts.
The court outcomes from child protection matters in the Children’s Courts of South Africa do not explicitly utilise deliberative decision-making as required by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Court outcomes are noted in the record of proceedings but written judgments and reasons for decisions are not provided to court users. Legal representation of children and families in these courts is rare. Willene's paper analyses the guidance from the Committee on the Rights of the Child on determinations of the best interests of the child and its implications for the functioning of the Children’s Courts and promotion of access to justice for court users, including children and their families.
This event will be taking place on Wednesday 14th June, 12:30-1:45pm (BST), online via Zoom. Please register here for the link to attend.
Willene is a Senior Lecturer from the School of Law, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus, in Durban, South Africa, established in 1926. Willene is a children’s and disability rights scholar, and formerly litigated with the legal NGO, Legal Resources Centre, on social justice issues. She clerked for Justice Kate O’Regan and Acting Justice Lex Mpati at the Constitutional Court of South Africa in 2007. Willene read for a Doctorate of Law with the University of Pretoria on access to justice for mothers with intellectual disabilities in two Children’s Courts under the supervision of Prof Charles Ngwena. She teaches Constitutional Law, Gender and the Law and in the LLM and MPhil programme on Child Care and Protection, an interdisciplinary programme. Her research interests lie in access to justice and Critical Disability Studies.