Restoring Juveniles in African Systems of Justice

Abigail K. Skeans, Candidate for Juris Doctor 2014  from Regent University School of Law also served as the Justice Programme Administrator, Children Justice Initiative in Uganda, Africa.  She has been researching and studying various juvenile justice systems in Africa during her law school career through the Center for Global Justice and the curricular Child Advocacy Practicum.  Her work is making a difference to children in Africa.

Last semester she worked in a comparative approach to juvenile justice taken in various African nations to determine the best and most restorative approach for children. 

Outlining the law in this area, Abby highlights both international, Ugandan, and Malawian standards of child justice in her research, and works to apply those rules and laws for the best interests of children when those children accused of crimes are often lost in the justice system machinery.  I have written on this before particularly regarding applications of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which can be accessed at SSRN, and how important the notion of the best interests of the child ought to be applied to such circumstances.  (An overview of that jurisprudence can be accessed here).

Abby combines all the best regulations for children and a clear application of the rule of law in her global research to present an approach to juvenile law that seeks to build up and restore children even in the context of criminal accusations.  Her conclusions: "Child Justice in Malawi and Uganda will be successful when the various levels of systems can work together in a complimentary way to  address offenses while accounting for the restoration of the offender and the community based on inherent , traditional principles of African justice."  Her work is shared in her power point presentation

Children around the world deserve hope to be restored to their community and to their families particularly in the face of being charged with a criminal offense.  A restorative approach can accomplish those goals, and Regent Law is training future lawyers to do just that.  Great work, Abby!  

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