Children come into contact with law in many ways. Firstly, they may be involved in criminal proceedings, either because they are accused of committing offenses, or because they are victims of or witnesses to crimes. Secondly, they may be involved in civil proceedings-for instance in family law or care and protection proceedings, or as complainants where their rights have been violated which makes every Child to be potentially a client in the justice system and it can happen anytime and any day.
In countries that have dual legal systems where customary law is still applicable, like Zambia, these processes might be formal or informal and both of these two systems have shown their negative impact on the children and requires the attention of all stakeholders.
Therefore, it would be prudent to embrace the idea of taking care of children whose lives have become entwined in the legal system, the promotion of child friendly justice systems and harmonization of formal and informal mechanism to enhance access to quality judicial and non-judicial services. Access to child justice embraces the idea that court systems or justice system can be a powerful tool to positively shape children’s lives and at the same time recognizes the reality that contact with the legal system is all too often more a source of additional trauma than a remedy for children.