The duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children: legal framework
Produced in partnership with Andrew Krisman, Consultant Solicitor
The duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children: legal framework

The following Immigration guidance note Produced in partnership with Andrew Krisman, Consultant Solicitor provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children: legal framework
  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009
  • Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
  • Appendix FM and exceptional circumstances
  • The scope and application of the s 55 duty
  • The effect of a failure to address the section 55 duty

This Practice Note outlines the legal framework underpinning the duty of UK immigration decision-makers, including the Home Office, tribunals and courts, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children when making decisions affecting them.

For information on the Home Office's policies for complying with the duty and example case law, see Practice Note: The duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children: policy and cases.

For information on considerations that advisers should keep in mind when dealing with cases to which the duty applies, see Practice Note: The duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children: practical tips.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Article 3(1) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) requires signatory states to ensure that:

'In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.'

Although the UK ratified the CRC on 16 December 1991, a reservation was entered against the application of the CRC in relation to immigration and citizenship issues. Effectively, children subject to immigration control were excluded from the CRC’s ambit. It was only in December 2008 that the UK government lifted this reservation to the CRC.

Section 55 of the