Photo of Professor Helen Stalford

Professor Helen Stalford LL.B (English and French law), Ph.D.

Head of Department Law

Research

Research Overview

Winner (with Prof Kathryn Hollingsworth, Newcastle University) for the SLSA best article prize, 2021, for their article 'This Case is About You and Your Future: Towards Judgments for Children' Modern Law Review, Volume 83(5) September 2020, 1030-1058.

European Children's Rights

Helen Stalford is a leading expert in European Children's Rights and has worked on various projects with the Commission, the Fundamental Rights Agency, the Council of Europe and UNICEF. Most of her work is distinguished by its cross-national, child-rights based approach, including the direct participation of children and young people in evaluating the impact of European law on their lived experiences.
She has published numerous articles on European children's rights, children's citizenship, cross-border family breakdown, immigration, and children's access to justice in a European context. Her book, 'Children and the European Union: Rights, Welfare and Accountability' (Hart 2012), remains the leading authority on children's rights under EU law. Earlier books on this theme include (with Louise Ackers) 'A Community for Children?: Children, Citizenship and Migration in the EU' (Ashgate, 2004). She has also produced edited collections on issues of gender and migration, health and migration and on the EU's role in promoting children's rights globally.
Helen is a founding member of the UK-wide 'Brexit and Children' coalition, a collaboration between over 30 leading academics, practitioners and civil society organisations, which seeks to bring children's rights to bear on the Brexit process.

Monitoring and Enforcing Children's Rights

Much of Helen's work is concerned with facilitating children's access to and enforcement of their rights, and with monitoring the effects of the law on children's lives. In 2009-2010 she headed a team of international researchers to develop a set of children's rights indicators on behalf of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency. This is aimed at enabling the EU institutions to monitor the impact of EU law and policy on children in the future and it has informed European level research and monitoring on child trafficking, unaccompanied minors, child participation and child friendly justice. Helen was then commissioned (with Anne Crowley) to develop a self assessment tool on behalf of the Council of Europe to enable States to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Council of Europe's Recommendation on the Participation of Children and Young People (2012-13). In 2014-15, she worked with the UK children's rights charity, Investing in Children, to develop a child friendly version of the Council of Europe's Child Friendly Justice Guidelines. This took as its starting point the views of children and young people who have had direct experience of different justice proceedings.
More recently, Helen has convened two international projects that seek to bring children's rights theory, principles and methods to bear on legal practice. The first project, Children's Rights Judgments (2015-17, co-led with Prof Kathryn Hollingsworth, University of Newcastle), was funded by the AHRC and involved nearly 60 children's rights experts from across the world in re-writing existing judgments from an explicitly children's rights perspective. The second project was a European Commission-funded partnership with Save the Children in Italy and Romania, as well as other children's rights organisations across Europe. This project involved working with legal practitioners and children on live cases to develop online training materials aimed at making the justice process more child friendly (TALE, 2015-2017). Helen is currently working with colleagues in the Liverpool Law Clinic to provide training to immigration practitioners, using the online tool as a framework for developing good practice.

Research Grants

Childhood at the Margins: A Normative Analysis of Children's Status as Right Holders

BRITISH ACADEMY (UK)

July 2021 - May 2022

Vulnerable Children in a Hostile Environment: Assessing The Impact of Covid-19 on Legal and Social Provision for Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

January 2021 - October 2022

Between protection and exclusion: Separated child migrants' care relationships and caring practices

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

May 2019 - July 2022

T.A.L.E. Training Activities for Legal Experts on children rights

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

November 2015 - October 2017

Children’s Rights Judgments Network

ARTS AND HUMANITIES RESEARCH COUNCIL

June 2015 - January 2018

European Responses to Global Children's Rights Issues:Exchanging Knowledge and Building Capacity

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

February 2014 - February 2016

Children and the European Union: Rights, Welfare and Accountability

ARTS AND HUMANITIES RESEARCH COUNCIL

September 2007 - March 2008

Study on indicators measuring the implementation, protection, respect and promotion of children's rights in the European Union, mapping and assessment of available relevant data resources

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

December 2007 - August 2010

The Rural Domestic Violence Research Project.

SAVE THE CHILDREN FUND (UK)

March 2002 - November 2002

Research Collaborations

Shauneen Lambe

Project: Maximising the impact of children's rights research
External: Impact Law for Social Justice

Collaborate on a range of training, strategic litigation and research initiatives aimed at embedding children's rights in practice.

Louise King

Project: Brexit and Children Coalition
External: Children's Rights Alliance for England

Collaborative campaign to sustain and build upon children's rights post Brexit

Liam Cairns

External: Investing in Children

Enabling children to enforce their rights through collaboration and consultation on a range of participatory research and impact activities

Dr Elaine Chase

Project: Vulnerable Children in a Hostile Environment: The Legal and Social Impacts of Covid-19 on Young Unaccompanied Asylum-Seekers in England
External: University College London

Collaborator on 18 month ESRC-funded project 2021-22.

Dr Jana Kreppner

Project: Vulnerable Children in a Hostile Environment: The Legal and Social Impacts of Covid-19 on Young Unaccompanied Asylum-Seekers in England
External: University of Southampton

Collaborator on ESRC-funded 18 month project 2021-22

Mihai Bica

Project: Protecting EU Roma children's rights post Brexit
External: The Roma Support Network

Collaboration on ensuring that Roma Children have access to relevant information, support and advice relating to the EU Settlement Scheme

Professor Kathryn Hollingsworth

Project: Children's Rights Judgments
External: Newcastle University

Collaborator on a range of research and writing initiatives exploring a children's rights-based approach to judging

Dr Ingi Iusmen

Project: Vulnerable Children in a Hostile Environment: The Legal and Social Impacts of Covid-19 on Young Unaccompanied Asylum-Seekers in England
External: University of Southampton

Collaborator on ESRC-funded 18 month project 2021-22