A threefold concept which includes a substantive right, a fundamental and interpretative legal principle and a rule of procedure that is aimed at ensuring the full and effective enjoyment of all the rights recognised in the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and of which the primary consideration is to ensure the holistic development of the child.
- Derived by EMN from Art. 3(1) of the Convention of the Rights of the Child
- UN General Comment No 14 on the right of the child to have their best interests taken as a primary consideration, 2013
- UNHCR: Guidelines on Determining the best interest of the child, 2008
- BG: Най-добрият интерес на детето
- CS: nejlepší zájmy dítěte
- DE: Wohl des Kindes / Kindeswohl
- EL: υπέρτερο συμφέρον του παιδιού
- EN: best interests of the child (BIC)
- ES: Interés superior del menor
- ET: lapse parimad huvid
- FI: lapsen etu
- FR: intérêt supérieur de l’enfant
- GA: Leas an linbh
- HU: gyermek mindenek felett álló érdeke
- IT: superiore interesse del minore
- LT: geriausi vaiko interesai
- LV: bērna (labākās) intereses
- MT: L-aħjar interessi tat-tifel / tat-tifla
- NL: het belang van het kind (NL); het hoger belang van het kind (BE)
- PT: superior interesse da criança
- SK: najlepší záujem dieťaťa
- SL: otrokove najboljše koristi
- SV: barnets bästa
- NO: grunnlagsdokument
- best interest of the child
- principle of the best interest(s) of the child
- best interests of the child assessment (BIA)
- best interests of the child determination (BID)
1. The principle of the best interests of the child is one of the four overarching guiding principles on children’s rights (right to non-discrimination, best interests, the right to life, survival and development, and the right to participation or right to express views and have them taken into account). It is anchored in Art. 3(1) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and in Art. 24(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Both instruments give children the right to have their best interests assessed and taken into account as a primary consideration in all actions or decisions that concern or affect children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies.
2. The holistic development of the child refers to the well-being of a child in a broad sense which includes their basic material, physical, educational and emotional needs as well as needs for affection and safety.
3. The best interests principle applies to all children without discrimination, to children not only as individuals, but also in general or as a group.
4. To ensure that the child’s best interests are taken into account as a primary consideration for individual children, a best interests of the child assessment (BIA) and, where appropriate, a best interests of the child determination (BID) should be undertaken. These processes might have different names in national systems.
5. The best interests of the child assessment (BIA) is a simple, ongoing procedure which should be undertaken in each individual case where decisions are to be made affecting an individual child, in the light of the specific circumstances of each child or group of children or children in general, and should evaluate and balance all elements necessary to make a decision in a specific situation for a specific child or group of children. For further information see, EUAA: Practical Guide on Family Tracing, 2016, p. 52-53 and UNHCR: Safe and Sound, 2014
6. The best interests of the child determination (BID) describes a formal process with strict procedural safeguards designed to determine the child’s best interests for particularly important decisions affecting the child. It should facilitate adequate child participation without discrimination, involve decision-makers with relevant areas of expertise, and balance all relevant factors in order to assess the best option. For further information see UNHCR: Guidelines on Determining the best interest of the child, 2008
7. In the national context, the term is often used in the singular form.