Chapter

Litigating the Child's Right to a Life Free from Violence: Seeking the Prohibition of Parental Physical Punishment of Children Through the Courts

Aoife Nolan

in Law and Childhood Studies

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199652501
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739217 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199652501.003.0029

Series: Current Legal Issues

Litigating the Child's Right to a Life Free from Violence: Seeking the Prohibition of Parental Physical Punishment of Children Through the Courts

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Litigation efforts seeking the prohibition of parental physical punishment (PPP) have met with mixed success. While some judicial and quasi-judicial bodies have been prepared to hold that such activity is a violation of a variety of children's rights, others have refused to do so. This chapter focuses on a number of recent rulings by courts and international quasi-judicial bodies involving challenges to state permission of physical punishment of children by their parents. It analyses these decisions by identifying common or contrasting elements in terms of the reasoning employed by judges and other decision-makers in either upholding or striking down the legality of PPP. It argues that approaches adopted by the decision-makers under consideration to the issue of PPP vary widely in terms of, amongst other things, judicial or quasi-judicial understandings and weighting of children's rights, the balance struck between such rights and parental autonomy, and the role played by international child rights standards and comparative experiences in relation to the prohibition of PPP. The chapter considers how these variations operate in relation to determining whether or not a court will be prepared to find in favour of a prohibition of PPP.

Keywords: children's rights; parental physical punishment; legality; court rulings; state permission

Chapter.  15250 words. 

Subjects: Family Law

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