Analysis of Child Rights Law Implementation in the Family Courts of Lagos State
The main objective of this study is to evaluate the implementation of Child Rights Law (CRL) of Lagos State after its introduction in 2007; and to identify any challenges in the application of the justice provisions in the Family Courts. The study adopts a qualitative approach in collecting both primary and secondary data through key informant interviews and desk review of extant literature respectively in July 2013. The study uses transcripts of interviews with Judges and Magistrates in four Family Courts. The findings reveal that the composition of the Family Courts is most of the time less than three people because of irregular and non-attendance of the assessors which leads to precarious court sitting days. It is also found that children’s cases involving adult offenders are heard in regular courts. Old court structures are converted to Family Courts as no new Family Court is constructed and this may not guarantee privacy or confidentiality. The findings further reveal that some family courts are converted to general purpose courts and deflected on family matters. There is a dearth of quality facilities due to inadequate resources especially funding. The study recommends a review of the law to make it more flexible for operation, more funding to be injected into the system and cases with adult offenders should be handled in a way that it should not jeopardize the best interest of the child.