Adolescents in Constitutional Law
This chapter introduces how adolescents constitute a diverse group with different needs, abilities, and circumstances. It reveals how, despite that diversity, understanding the rights of adolescents requires beginning with a legal definition: it means viewing adolescents as youth who have reached puberty but have not yet reached 18 years of age—those considered “minors.” It then briefly details the legal system’s general approach to their rights and how legal developments have stalled. That failed development reveals how many freedoms go either ignored or unrecognized. The discussion then examines the obstacles that limit the development of adolescents’ rights, with those obstacles relating to adolescents’ abilities and place in society as well as the nature of rights themselves. The chapter ends by highlighting the importance of understanding the constitutional foundation of adolescents’ rights and by introducing the chapters that follow.
KeywordsAdolescents Juvenile rights Children’s rights Minors
Some of the arguments in the third part of this chapter summarize materials from the first chapter of the author’s edited book Adolescence, Rapid Social Change and the Law (Levesque 2016) published by the same publisher as this book.
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