Deciding best interests: General principles and the cases of Norway and the UK

David Archard, Marit Skivenes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This article addresses the difficult matter of interpreting the best interest principle, and offers advice for those who must make laws, and those who make decisions within the constraints of those laws. Our approach rests on an assumption that conclusions about best interest are best reached through a reasoned deliberative process. We suggest that legislators should not write substantive assumptions about what is best for every child into their laws; rather, they should indicate a non-exhaustive list of key relevant considerations that decision-makers can review and evaluate in each and every case. Further, the child's own perspective should be imperative in all deliberations about best interest, and a distinction must be made between objective fact and what is invoked as a substantive and contestable assumption. The article supplies a benchmark against which we may review and judge the actual efforts of legislators and decision-makers to determine what is best for any child.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-54
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Children's Services
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Best interest
  • Child
  • Decision-making
  • Deliberations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Deciding best interests: General principles and the cases of Norway and the UK'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this