Behind the protection: Key issues of the child’s capacity to exercise fundamental rights
Keywords:children’s rights, legal capacity of fundamental rights, best interest of the child, decision-making capacity, parental rights/obligations, proportionality, freedom of assembly.
The study attempts to reveal from a dogmatic-analytical point of view, the issues related to the child’s capacity to exercise fundamental rights based in practice-oriented approach, with case law examples. This children's rights focus is part of the larger research: the FULCAP research project aims to develop a complex concept and doctrine of legal capacity for fundamental rights (as a concept map) and to construct a normative concept of legal capacity for fundamental rights. The research seeks to answer how the definition of legal capacity for fundamental rights could be constructed, among others such as that of children. Namely the legal capacity of a child requires that the child enjoy a certain level of capacity to exercise rights and be able to exercise his or her fundamental rights. Based on the results of this research, the first part of the study identifies and examines the key factors that affect the child's capacity to exercise rights, the direct exercise of rights, or restrict it. First, the relevance of age and maturity; second, the parental rights and obligations; and finally, other factors: institutions, values, and public interest. The second part of the study tries to shed light on these factors using the example of the exercise of children's freedom to assembly and its limitations. Finally, the study sets up an "exercise of rights scale" and delineates the possible alternative legal solutions in the context of exercising the children’s freedom of assembly.
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