This project, supported by the Baring Foundation, the Legal Education Foundation and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, which seeks to highlight the benefits of using the law, legal processes and human rights to progress policy issues to tackle discrimination and disadvantage in relation to children in Scotland. It brings together voluntary sector organisations, lawyers and other professionals working in the field of children’s rights to identify ways to use the law more effectively to achieve policy aims.

As part of this project, we coordinate a Children’s Rights Strategic Litigation Group which meets periodically as a forum for knowledge exchange and collaboration on using the law to further children’s rights in Scotland. If you would like to know more or join the group, please contact our Legal Policy Coordinator, Katy Nisbet, at

Our aims  

  • The third sector in Scotland increasingly uses the law to further CYP rights and tackle disadvantage and discrimination  
  • Policy work in the third sector is embedded in human rights 
  • Active use of the law and human rights forms part of influencers’ policy toolbox 
  • Organisations learn from each other’s experience of using the law 
  • Lawyers and third sector organisations work together to realise CYP rights 

Our method 

  • Connect organisations and professionals with legal and human rights expertise and those with an interest in learning more about or exchanging experience of using the law and human rights to further CYP rights by coordinating the Children’s Rights Strategic Litigation Group  
  • Facilitate working groups for cross-sectoral collaboration to progress particular policy areas 
  • Share learning about realising CYP rights through use of the law and human rights, including by


Identifying rights violations Alerting the Children & Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, the Scottish Human Rights Commission or the Equality and Human Rights Commission to the rights issue Intervening in a case as a third party in the public interest, in Scottish courts, the UK Supreme Court or the European Court of Human Rights
Embedding policy work in rights arguments and holding decision-makers to account by invoking their human rights obligations Identifying potential test cases Providing a witness statement or other evidence for one party or for interveners in a case
Seeking legal opinions on legal remedies Taking legal action – or joint legal action with others – to hold authorities to account, e.g. judicial review Funding an individual or another organisation to take legal action
Developing research to support claims & gathering evidence to lay groundwork for legal challenge Referring a case to the Equality and Human Rights Commission which may be able to use its legal powers to provide legal assistance, intervene or institute proceedings Supporting a victim engaged in legal action

In October 2016 we organised a Roundtable on Children’s Rights in Scotland: using the law and human rights to advance policy. The event brought together around 60 representatives of voluntary organisations, lawyers and other professionals working in children’s rights. The speakers’ presentations and other conference materials and resources on strategic litigation can be found here