Unit 1 – Law at Home

 Law at Home

Law is an essential element in the structuring of society, acting as a system of rules and regulations governing relations between individuals. Without it, social cooperation would be compromised by the unpredictability of behavior. Its aim is to promote fair and balanced rules to meet the needs of all members of society and to steer society towards the goals it has set itself.

In this first unit, we look at the law within the family, discovering the different legal frameworks governing family relationships.

Family and Parenthood

Legal provisions also govern marriage, family, and parenthood in many states around the world. These laws define who is authorized to enter into marriage, establish the rights and obligations of family members, and deal with a number of other related issues. This chapter will look at these various legal aspects to better understand their impact on society.

The Rights of the Child

Just as parents have rights, children also have rights that must be respected and protected. These rights are essential to ensure the safety and well-being of children while giving them a voice in society. To guarantee the protection of these rights, governments around the world have drawn up specific legal documents, which are similar to international laws and agreements that countries undertake to respect.


The concept of inheritance is based on the principle that, following a person’s death, their property and assets – in other words, their estate – should be passed on to others, such as family members, friends, or designated beneficiaries. This transmission process is generally regulated by laws that vary from country to country. Traditionally, there are three main ways of managing this inheritance: intestate succession, which takes place in accordance with the rules established by law when the deceased leaves no valid will; testamentary succession, which derives from the expressed will of the deceased, usually in writing, designating his or her heirs and establishing the rules of succession; and finally, mixed or hybrid succession, which combines the two previous modalities, with one part of the estate governed by law and another by will.

Convention on the rights of the child

At the beginning of the 20th century, in industrialized countries, there were no standards for protecting children. It was common for children to work alongside adults in unsanitary and dangerous conditions. More and more people realise that children are not treated fairly, especially when it comes to their growth and needs. This inspired a movement to protect them and provide them with better conditions.

The first step of this movement was in 1924 when the League of Nations adopted the Declaration of Geneva on the Rights of the Child, drafted by Eglantyne Jebb, founder of the Save the Children Fund. The Declaration states that all nations have a duty to respect the child’s right to the means necessary for their development, to receive special assistance when needed, to be the first to receive relief, to economic freedom, protection against exploitation, and an education that encourages social consciousness and a sense of duty.

The movement continued, and UNICEF was established in 1946, allowing the creation of an international fund for child relief worldwide.

In 1959, a glorious year for children’s rights, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which notably recognises the child’s right to education, play, a favorable environment, and health care.
Thirty years later, in 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and was widely acclaimed as a landmark achievement in human rights, recognizing the role of children as social, economic, political, civil, and cultural actors. The convention guarantees the protection of children’s rights in all respects and sets minimum standards for this protection.

Since then, November 20, 1989, has been a special date. It is celebrated every year as Universal Children’s Day because this event marks a crucial step in the global recognition of children’s specific rights. Nowadays, 197 countries have ratified this convention.

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