Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
A Magna Carta for Children?

A Magna Carta for Children?
Rethinking Children's Rights


Part of The Hamlyn Lectures

  • Publication planned for: July 2020
  • availability: Not yet published - available from July 2020
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316606674

£ 29.99

Pre-order Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world, yet everyday children still face poverty, violence, war, disease and disaster. Are the rights we currently afford to children enough? Combining historical analysis with international human rights law, Michael Freeman considers early legal and philosophical theories on children's rights before exploring the impact and limitations of the Convention itself. He also suggests ways that we may rethink children's rights in the future as well as identifying key areas for reform. This book will appeal to an interdisciplinary audience who are interested in children's rights, children's studies, the history of childhood, international human rights, and comparative family law. It is a crucial restatement of the importance of law, policy and rights in improving children's lives.

    • Provides a detailed examination of the development of children's rights before the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including key legal and philosophical perspectives
    • Includes an in-depth critique of the Convention and its principles
    • Explores multiple facets of children's rights and childhood, appealing to a broad audience of legal, sociological, psychological and social work scholars
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'In this book, which is based on his 2015 Hamlyn Lectures, Michael Freeman embarks on an account of children's rights which is astonishing in its breadth and depth. No aspect is neglected, from the historical origins of the idea to the most contemporary issues in which children's rights are implicated. These are many, including globalisation, social inequality, migration, even climate change. The coverage is also global, with special attention given to South America and Africa. Freeman draws not only on law and legal theory, but also on other disciplines, such as sociology and neuroscience. But references to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child are interwoven throughout the text. Ultimately, however, it is an uncompromisingly political statement about children and the realities of the political and social world in which they live, and what still needs to be done to treat them properly.' John Eekelar, University of Oxford

    'I was delighted to hear that the 2015 Hamlyn lectures were to be given by the world's leading international children's rights scholar, Professor Michael Freeman. The three lectures, collated and expanded in this book, provide a fascinating and engaging overview of the theory and practice of children's rights. They are presented in Professor Freeman's inimitable style and draw on his encyclopaedic knowledge of the field. It is a must read for any scholar or student of children's rights.' Laura Lundy, Queen's University, Belfast

    'As a staunch and passionate advocate for children and their human rights, Michael Freeman's inspirational writings motivate enlightened legal and attitudinal change. His Hamlyn lectures raise important, thought-provoking questions to which he provides eloquent, witty and progressive responses. Through his profound wisdom and empathy, he lays the foundations for a more just and nurturing world for children.' Bernadette Saunders, Monash University, Australia

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Publication planned for: July 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316606674
    • dimensions: 216 x 138 mm
    • availability: Not yet published - available from July 2020
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. 1. Are children human?
    2. Interlude – taking a deep breath
    Part II. Even Lawyers Were Children Once:
    3. The Convention on the Rights of the Child and its principles
    4. The Convention – norms and themes
    5. Enforcing children's rights
    6. Criticisms of the Convention
    7. Beyond the Convention
    8. Interlude – what we can learn from the sociology of childhood
    9. Childhoods and rights
    10. Regional children's rights
    11. Child friendly justice
    12. The world 25 years on: new issues and responses
    Part III. A Magna Carta for Children:
    13. Rethinking children's rights
    14. Alternatives to rights – or are they?
    15. A Magna Carta for children?
    16. Rethinking principles and concepts
    17. Conclusion
    18. Coda – a child of our time.

  • Author

    Michael Freeman, University College London
    Michael Freeman is Professor Emeritus of English Law at University College London Faculty of Laws. He is the Founding Editor of the International Journal of Children's Rights, Editor of the International Journal of Law in Context, General Editor of International Library of Medicine, Ethics and Law and of the International Library of Family, Society and Law and former Editor of the Annual Survey of Family Law. He has published in the areas of Family Law; Child Law and Policy; Children's Rights; Medicine; Ethics and the Law and Medical Law; Jurisprudence and Legal Theory; and other areas of law and policy.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.