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Name: Ruth Brittle

PhD: Law: Children's Rights and Asylum

Thesis Title: The Interplay of the Rights of the Child, International Refugee Law and Asylum Procedures


Thesis Description:

My thesis aims to examine the rights of children when they are seeking asylum or international protection. I will explore how the international children’s rights framework, based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), protects children in refugee situations. Interacting and intersecting with this framework is the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, with its narrow and subjective definition of refugee status and lack of specific provision for refugee children. This produces a ‘protection gap’ and allows states to treat children as ‘always migrants, sometimes children.’1 In this context, I will review the jurisprudence of the Committee on the rights of the child, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and consider what legal principles it has developed in the context of children seeking asylum. This raises the following questions: What rights are engaged when a child seeks asylum? Is the framework of the CRC sufficient to provide international protection for children? What role does the best interests principle play in protecting and/or enhancing the rights of the child seeking international protection? What are the standards of a child-rights compliant refugee/asylum process?  The central theme of my thesis is to consider a child refugee's protection needs through the lens of the CRC, rather than considering a child's refugee status. 

1 CONNECT Country Report on the United Kingdom, ‘Always Migrants, Sometimes Children: Mapping of the Reception and Protection of Unaccompanied Children in the United Kingdom’. Available at:

Supervisors and Institution(s):

Professor Aoife Nolan (University of Nottingham) 

Professor Ralph Sandland (University of Nottingham)


Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:

2012 - 2015

  • Co-editor of the Yearbook of the Council of Europe's European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.


  • Masters in Human Rights Law (with distinction) (LLM), University of Nottingham.


  • Researcher for the UK Report on the right to interpretation and translation and the right to information in criminal proceedings in the EU (INFOCRIM) for the Fundamental Rights Agency of the UK.  This was primarily desk research with respect to relevant legislation, policies and practices in the four jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. 


Other Research Interests:

  • Migration
  • European Union law
  • International Human Rights law



University email address:


Twitter: @RuthBrittle

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