Logo UNICEF Innocenti
Office of Research-Innocenti
menu icon

Children on the move

31 Aug 2016

Child Migration and the Law: Status, detention and court proceedings

Immigration systems and border protection structures are often inadequately prepared to guarantee just and fair legal procedures for children. Our featured experts highlight the main issues.

Content Summary: hidden dimensions of child migration; problem of defining status of children separately from parents; legal requirement to provide legal representation not observed; only small share go to immigration court with a lawyer; majority of children with legal representation have claims approved; decision on status of migrant children left to border guards; backlogs in legal process often denies children essential services; known risks of children put in administrative detention; priority to secure child’s best interest; children universally exempt from detention – no possible justification.