Developing Children’s Rights-based approaches for law and policy inScotland – journeying from recognition towards incorporation andimplementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

   The Business School

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  Prof Richard Whitecross  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

In recent decades, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has acquired greater recognition in law,policy and practice in Scotland and elsewhere. However, the journey from ‘tokenism’ towards ensuring respectful and meaningful implementation of Children’s Rights presents novel opportunities and challenges.

On 1 September 2020 the Scottish Government introduced a seminal Bill to the Scottish Parliament that seeks to fully incorporate the UN Convention into Scottish Law. However, there is a pressing need for exploration and evaluation of both the concept and reality of children as active rights-holders, and partners, in Scottish public law and policy.

This research will engage with theories and relevant aspects of the literature concerning Children’s Rights and implementing rights-based approach(es), and will also engage with key stakeholder third sector groups in Child and Family Law and policy and connected fields.

The successful candidate will conduct a comparative review of Children’s Rights based literature and practices in Scotland and other jurisdictions, review key aspects of law and policy, and conduct scoping interviews with Scottish Children’s Rights organisations in the field.

Academic qualifications
A first degree (at least a 2.1) ideally in Law or Social Science with a good fundamental knowledge of Children’s Rights and the legal system in Scotland.

English language requirement
IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.

Essential attributes:
Experience of fundamental legal analysis and social research
Competent in undertaking a range of research tasks, ideally in Law or a relevant Social Science discipline
Knowledge of Child and Family Law ; Children’s Rights
Good written and oral communication skills
Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project
Good time management

Desirable attributes:
A good understanding of human rights and qualitative research methods.
Law (22)


UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill (introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 1 September 2020); Together Scotland most recent State of Children’s Rights Report (available here:

 About the Project