“THE BEST INTEREST PRINCIPLE” - A qualitative study on the interpretation of “the child’s best interest” by the European Court of Human Rights and national states
The purpose of this thesis is to analyse Article 3, commonly known as “the best interest principle”, from the Convention on the rights of the child (CRC) in European courts. The European Court of Human Right (ECtHR) is the main court of human rights in Europe and the CRC is one of many conventions that falls under their jurisdiction. The European states are all sovereign and has implemented and interpreted the principle in their own ways, despite having the ECtHR as the guiding court. It is therefore interesting to analyse the potential differences between the interpretation of the principle in the ECtHR and the national courts. Children are the future, hence it is vital to safeguard their rights to give them the best possible chance to a healthy and happy development into society. This analysis used three different cases that were brought in front of the ECtHR. Furthermore, the study was done through an inductive content analysis, in line with the threefold concept and the theory of deliberation. The result of the study shows that there is a difference in how the principle is interpretated in European courts. Not only between the states and the ECtHR, but also between the different states and within the ECtHR itself. Finally, the study could also observe, like many others, that the CRC and “the best interest principle” remains somewhat unclear and is an instrument that is up for individual interpretation by both national courts, authorities and the ECtHR.
European Court of Human Rights, best interest principle, Article 3, Convention on the Rights of the Child, Europe, threefold concept, positive obligations, national courts