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The Practice of Hearing the Child in Child Protection Proceedings in France

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 November 2022

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Summary

INTRODUCTION

Since the beginning of child protection in France, created by Order No. 58/1301 of 23 December 1958, the Children’s judge (JE) has an obligation to hear the minor prior to ordering protection measures. Th e objective was to consider the minor as a concerned party in the proceedings, not only by acknowledging their status as a party, but also by eliciting their perspective on the difficulties they were going through within their family, by observing their behaviour in the presence of their parents, or by seeking their buy-in, as much as that of their parents, to the protection measure. Stated unambiguously right from the start, the principle of hearing the child in protection proceedings ensures adherence by French legislation in this area with the requirements of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

The general principle of hearing the child has been recognized within the Civil Code and by the Law of 8 January 1993. A true right of the child to be heard in proceedings concerning them was later enshrined in Article 388(1) of the Civil Code by the Law of 5 March 2007. Under French law, the hearing of the child in judicial proceedings rests on two separate arrangements: one under ordinary law, grounded in Article 388(1) of the Civil Code, and the other by special instruments, in particular those on child protection, but also with regard to emancipation or adoption.

In the context of taking the child into care prior to or following a court order for child protection, Article L. 223(4) of the Code of Social Welfare and Families provides that, generally speaking, the child social welfare department (ASE) examines with the minor any decision concerning them and obtains their opinion. In addition, Article L. 223(1)(1)(5) of the Code of Social Welfare and Families provides that the minor must participate in the preparation of their ‘plan for the child‘, in line with mechanisms adapted to their age and degree of maturity.

Concerning the legal proceedings for child protection, the mechanisms for hearing the child are set out by Article 1182(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure (CCP).

Type
Chapter
Information
Children's Access to Justice
A Critical Assessment
, pp. 13 - 24
Publisher: Intersentia
Print publication year: 2022

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