Children focus of legal conference
European experts in child protection and human rights will address a major conference that is due to begin in Belfast.
The two-day event focusing on children and the justice system is being hosted by the Law Society of Northern Ireland. It will examine how the rights of young people can be guaranteed with the European Union's legal framework.
Law Society president Michael Robinson said the conference was timely. He said: "The Law Society is delighted to welcome this important conference to Belfast at a time when the issue of children's rights is very much at the forefront of discussions within the European Union."
He continued: "This conference takes place during Ireland's Presidency of the Council of the European Union and is a reflection of the growing recognition of Northern Ireland's significance in the European legal community."
The event has been organised in co-operation with the Academy of European Law (ERA). It is taking place at Law Society House in Belfast until Friday.
Delegates will have an opportunity to attend a number of keynote addresses from experts in child protection and the rights of children in criminal and civil legal cases.
Authorities on communicating with children in a legal setting and protecting vulnerable children will also speak at the conference.
Senior members of the judiciary, legal practitioners, civil servants, police and other law enforcement officials from across Northern Ireland and other European countries are set to attend.
ERA director Dr Wolfgang Heusel said: "The rights of children within the member states' legal systems and the development of minimum standards for a child-friendly justice throughout the EU have come high up the political agenda of the European institutions.
"ERA, a genuine European actor providing legal and judicial training and a forum for legal debate across European jurisdictions, is delighted to be back to Belfast with a conference on such topical and sensitive issue."