Research projects

Children Disability and Service Provision: A Liverpool / Merseyside Perspective

A Policy Report by Seamus Byrne, Amel Alghrani and Deborah Tyfield.

Project details:

This report highlights the a number of issues which are directly affecting the implementation of educational provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in the Liverpool and Merseyside area. This report was based on semi-structured interviews with parents of children with SEND in the Liverpool/Merseyside area and a review of the University of Liverpool Law Clinic's casefiles. This investigation culminated in a one day conference on the 31st January 2020 in Liverpool which was attended by parents, academics, charitable organisation, local MP's and the Director of Children's Services from Liverpool City Council.

Related projects:

Further research is being carried out in this area include ongoing investigations into the impact of COVID-19 on the education rights of SEND children in England and Ireland.

ECRU's COVID-19 Briefing Papers


Children’s Competence in Context

Led by Dr Aoife Daly, this project aims to bring research evidence and a children’s rights approach to how the law treats children’s competence across different areas. The research will consider issues such as minimum ages, criminal responsibility and medical consent in light of:

  • Scientific evidence from psychology and neurobiology;
  • Theory relating to children’s rights, disability and feminism;
  • The reported experiences of professionals working with children across areas such as the courts, medicine and psychology.

Outputs will include practitioner tools and academic journal articles.

You can find out more about this project and Aoife's research on the Independent Social Research Foundation website.

Related publications: Children, Autonomy and the Courts: Beyond the Right to be Heard (Brill, 2018)


‌Enhancing Children’s Awareness of and Access to the EU Settlement Scheme

Helen Stalford and Tilly Clough have been working on a Home Office-funded project to develop child friendly information materials relating to the EU settlement scheme. This work is informed by in-depth consultation with over 100 children from different EU countries who are living across the UK.

The work is part of a wider Brexit and Children Coalition Campaign, led by Stalford in partnership with The Children’s Society, Coram Children’s Legal Centre, the Children’s Rights Alliance for England and Professor Kathryn Hollingsworth (Newcastle University).

Part of this has involved lobbying of the Home Office around the conditions attached to EU settlement which, the research reveals, disadvantage children from lower socio-economic backgrounds, children in the criminal justice system, children in care, and children from minority ethnic groups such as the Roma children. 

Related publications:

  • Stalford, H., Travena, F., Dorling, K., Rainer, C., Royston, S., Lundy, L., . . . Kelly, P. (2017). Making Brexit Work for Children: Making Brexit Work for Children.
  • Stalford, H., Cairns, L., & Marshall, J. (n.d.). Achieving Child Friendly Justice through Child Friendly Methods: Let’s Start with the Right to Information. Social Inclusion, 5(3), 207.
  • Hollingsworth, K. and Stalford, H. (2019) ‘The Eu Settled Status Scheme And Children In Conflict With The Law’ Briefing Paper
  • Hollingsworth, K. and Stalford, H. (2019) ‘Brexit and children in conflict with the law: implications for sentencers’ Briefing Paper

‌Children's Rights and the Football Industry

Dr Eleanor Drywood is leading a research project on migration, child footballers and the football industry. This has resulted most recently in an extensive report, commissioned by UNICEF, to guide professional football clubs on how to protect and promote children’s rights in their recruitment practices.

  • Esson, J. Darby, J, Drywood, E., Mason, C, and Yilmaz, S. ‘Children Before Players: Protecting and realising children’s rights: A guide for Professional football clubs’ UNICEF, 2020
  • Yilmaz, S., Esson, J., Darby, P., Drywood, E., & Mason, C. (2020). Children’s rights and the regulations on the transfer of young players in football International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 55(1), 115-124. doi:10.1177/1012690218786665
  • Esson, J., & Drywood, E. (2018). Challenging popular representations of child trafficking in football Challenging popular representations of child trafficking in football. Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, 4(1), 60-72.
  • Drywood, E. W. (2016). "When we buy a young boy...": Migrant Footballers, Children's Rights and the Case for EU Intervention. In I. Iusmen, & H. Stalford (Eds.), The EU as a Children's Rights Actor: Law, Policy and Structural Dimensions, Berlin & Toronto: Barbara Budrich, pp. 191-219).

‌Children's Rights Judgments

Led by Helen Stalford and Kathryn Hollingsworth (University of Newcastle) and funded by the AHRC, Children’s Rights Judgments is an exciting collaboration between over 60 experts from across the world. They re-wrote 28 existing judgments from a range of different jurisdictions, adopting the same style and conventions as the originals, to demonstrate how judges could bring children’s rights to bear on their decision-making.

Each rewritten judgment is accompanied by a short academic commentary explaining the differences between the new and original versions. The results are published in a ground-breaking book which was launched at the Supreme Court in November 2017 at an event hosted by the then Supreme Court President, Lady Hale. Lady Hale also wrote the Foreword for the book. The collection includes contributions from a number of ECRU members, including PhD students.

Other published work arising from this project includes:

  • Hollingsworth, K. and Stalford, H. (2018). 'Judging parental child abduction: What does it mean to adopt a children’s rights-based approach?' in G. Douglas, & V. Stephens (Eds.), Essays in honour of Nigel Lowe, Netherlands: Brill
    Stalford, H. and Hollingsworth, K. ‘“This Case is About you and your Future”: Towards Judgments for Children’ Modern Law Review (Forthcoming 2020)