Representing Children Worldwide is a project of Yale Law School that attempts to catalogue “how children’s voices are heard in child protective proceedings” in an advertised 250 countries in the year 2005. This is an interesting, potentially useful, flawed project. Any data arrived at through a decent research method for such a spread of jurisdictions has real potential to help teachers, legislators and lawyers who find themselves working across legal boundaries.
The project seems to have run out of money, though, before it was completed. Thus, there’s nothing whatever on Canada, a jurisdiction that could have yielded up its various child representation rules fairly easily. (Perhaps that’s why it was neglected in favour of other countries with laws less accessible by potential users of the study.) The thing is, though, that the money evidently failed before the website got properly set up. So there’s a list of countries which are covered by the study, but it’s not hyperlinked; immediately below there’s a hyperlinked list of all 250 of the promised countries, some of which, like Canada, get you 404’s – i.e. messages that say the page does not exist. There are other technical and formatting glitches that make me want to get in there and fix things.
Still, presentation aside, it is a useful resource; and I join the project staff in their hope that someone will step in to carry on the work, otherwise it will become an ever more yellowed snapshot of most of 2005.