UK research projects

UK research projects

Coram Children's Legal Centre undertakes research and consultancy in the areas of child rights and child law and policy in the UK.

EU CONNECT Project on unaccompanied children in Europe

Coram Children’s Legal Centre, together with Save the Children Sweden, UNHCR’s Bureau for Europe, NIDOS in the Netherlands, Save the Children Italy, Don Calabria, the Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Policies in Italy and the County Administration in Västra Götaland in Sweden received funding from the EU for a 12 month project CONNECT – ‘Identifying good practices in, and improving, the connections between actors involved in reception, protection and integration of unaccompanied children in Europe’, starting in September 2013.

The EU CONNECT Project has looked at reception, protection and integration policies for unaccompanied migrant children, focussing on how actors work individually and together to respond to the rights of these children and fulfil their EU law obligations. By mapping practice in the partner countries and the development of tools, the CONNECT project aimed to contribute concrete and practical measures that support actors better to address the needs and rights of these children. Read more

Growing Up In A Hostile Environment: The rights of undocumented migrant children in the UK

A recent estimate put the number of undocumented migrant children in the UK at 120,000, with over half born here. Many of these children have spent the whole or most of their lives in the UK.

This group of children and young people are often unable to access appropriate education, healthcare and support as a result of their immigration status, with many facing extreme poverty. At the same time, they are often unable to either return to their (or their parent/s’) country of origin, or to take the necessary steps to regularise their status, even when they have strong claims for remaining in the UK. These children are trapped in a limbo, unable to regularise their status following the removal of legal aid from immigration cases, a lack of quality legal advice, soaring application fees and poor quality decision-making by the Home Office.

Drawing on the work of Coram Children’s Legal Centre through its Migrant Children’s Project advice line, outreach services and legal casework, this new report examines the ways in which lack of immigration status is an obstacle to children and young people accessing their basic rights and entitlements and the difficulties this group face in obtaining essential legal advice and regularising their status. This circular problem, where ‘unreturnable’ children and young people are left in precarious situations but the current asylum and immigration system does not sufficiently allow for them to resolve their immigration status, is one that must be addressed with great urgency if the UK is to fulfil its legal obligations towards children.

Full report 
Report summary 

Happy Birthday? Disputing the age of children in the immigration system 

Children who arrive alone in the UK are regularly disbelieved about how old they are and can spend many years without access to education or appropriate support, or end up in unsupervised accommodation with adults or in adult immigration detention centres. The only way to challenge this treatment is to pursue costly and protracted legal proceedings. This new report examines the age assessment process and the practical and emotional impact of age disputes on young people in the immigration system.

Full report 
Report summary 

Navigating the System: Advice provision for young refugees and migrants

This report by the Migrant Children's Project looks at the complex administrative and legal processes that separated children and young people have to navigate and the range of professionals who can offer advice and guidance to them. The report finds that many legal advice and support services are under strain, facing serious financial challenges and an uncertain future, putting these children and young people at risk. Published May 2012.
Full report
Report summary

The Right to Education in England

This research project analysed the implementation of the right to education in England. The research was submitted as an alternative report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, to be used by the Committee in conducting its periodic review of the UK Government in September 2008.

The report identified a number of key areas where the government had failed to implement the right to education in England, and made a number of recommendations for improving the implementation of the right to education in England.

Protection of Child Victims of Sexual Abuse

Child victims experience unique concerns and challenges at all stages of the criminal process. In 2010, the Children's Legal Centre completed a research project on the protection of child victims, which arose out of participation in a two-year, EU-funded multi-country project aimed at establishing best practice in meeting the needs of child victims and witnesses. The project was coordinated by La Voix De l'Enfant.

Complaints from Children: The New Police Complaints Procedure

In 2006, the research team completed a research project on complaints from children to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Prior to this research, very little attention had been paid to the unique situation of child complainants or to the issues which arise for children in making complaints against police officers.

Bullying in Schools in England

In 2006, the Children's Legal Centre conducted a review of the complaints procedure for children being bullied at schools in England, on behalf of 11 Million (now the Office of the Children's Commissioner).

Child Impact Assessments

Having issued a comprehensive briefing in response to the Children Bill, the Children's Legal Centre, together with the National Children's Bureau, undertook Child Impact Assessments on legislative proposals affecting children between October 2004 and September 2006.

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