About the Children's Law Centre

The Children's Law Centre was established in September 1997.

It is founded upon the principles laid down in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Centre works to protect the rights of all children living in NI particularly those who are the most disadvantaged, e.g. children with disabilities, special educational needs, mental ill health, homeless young people.

  • We use the law to access critical services for children and young people and to challenge the discrimination and disadvantage suffered by many of our most vulnerable children.
  • We provide a free legal advice service and legal representation for children and young people.
  • We also work to create a society where all children can access all necessary services and opportunities they need to enjoy their childhood and realise their full potential.
  • We are committed to giving a voice to the most disadvantaged and voiceless children.

Children’s Law Centre is a company limited by guarantee, No NI33998

Northern Ireland Charity number: NIC 101148


CLC move to our new premises
on the Ormeau Road, Belfast

Meet the team

Emma-Rose Duffy

As a solicitor I work with children, young people and their families to protect their rights and ensure their voices heard.

Paul Hamilton
Training and Engagement Co-ordinator

I work with children's rights experts at CLC to develop learning programmes that help increase knowledge and awareness of children's rights.

Diane Hammond
Advice Worker

I provide legal information and advice on the rights of children and young people.

Rachel Hogan
Special Education Needs Representative

I work within the legal team, giving specialist support on special educational needs and disability issues.

Paddy Kelly

I am responsible for the management, development and resourcing of CLC. Working with colleagues and CLC’s Management Committee, I ensure CLC is enabled to support children and young people to claim their rights.

Claire Kemp
Policy Officer
I work on policy which includes writing consultation responses, briefings to decision-makers and delivering training on children’s rights issues.
Liam Mackle
Advice Manager

My job is to provide legal information and advice on the rights of children and young people.

Catherine Maguire
Advice Worker

I provide legal information and advice on the rights of children and young people.

Sarah McAuley
Receptionist/Administration Assistant

I am the receptionist and admin support. I am usually the first person you see, or voice you hear, when you call CLC.

Fergal McFerran
Policy and Public Affairs Manager

My job is to make sure we’re using all of CLC’s experience and expertise to engage, inform and influence decision makers to uphold the rights of children and young people.

Eamonn McNally
Mental Health Solicitor

I provide advice and representation for children and young people with mental health needs at the Mental Health Review Tribunal and take judicial reviews on their behalf.

Katie Mercer
Trainee Solicitor

I am training to be a Solicitor. My role is supported by the Legal Education Fund's Justice First Fellowship. As part of my training, I assist with CLC's legal work. I will also undertake a project on access to justice as part of the Justice First Fellowship.

Sam Nelson
Communications and Marketing Manager

I manage the communications at CLC, making sure children's rights issues are heard by those who matter, especially children and young people themselves.

Helen Rafferty
Head of Administration and Finance Unit

As part of the Senior Management Team I am responsible for office and admin management including financial implementation, HR, payroll and procurement.

Kathryn Stevenson
Head of Legal Services

As Head of Legal Services, I am responsible for the operational management and strategic direction of CLC’s legal team.


CLC Management Committee

Trása Canavan

Trása Canavan is the Senior Policy & Public Affairs Lead for Barnardo’s NI. Trása works closely with the wide range of services delivered by Barnardo’s NI, to understand the realities facing children in Northern Ireland and uses this evidence to shape policy to achieve the best outcomes for children.

Deborah Drury

Deborah Drury has worked in education for over twenty years and has a particular interest in special educational needs and neurodiversity. She has experience of directing whole-school policy and implementing initiatives to improve literacy amongst children at post-primary level. Her doctoral degree researched the capacity of emerging technologies to help reduce anxiety among autistic children. She is a Patron of the National Autistic Society in Northern Ireland and is passionate about giving all children a voice in policy related to their needs. Deborah is currently working in the business sector and is Managing Director of her family-run art company.

Duane Farrell

Duane Farrell has been working in the Community and Voluntary sector in Northern Ireland for over 20 years. During that time, he has worked within the LGB&T community, as well as with older people and children & young people. In these roles, he has developed services, led campaigns and worked to influence legislation and policy.

Currently, Duane is the Chief Executive of Relate NI, a Commissioner with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and a Trustee of Grow NI.

Jerome Finnegan

Jerome is the Policy and Practice Impact Adviser at Save the Children. He has worked on a wide range of issues, from early education to climate change to poverty, and experience of working with children and families to campaign for change.

Jerome is committed to human rights and working collaboratively with others to achieve positive social change.

Chris Haugh

Chris Haugh is a Chartered Accountant, currently working as Claims Team Manager within Invest Northern Ireland. He has more than 10 years post qualification experience working within finance, audit, risk and governance roles in a wide variety of organisations in the public, private and third sector. As a member of the CLC Board and Finance, Audit and Risk Committee, Chris applies his financial skills to assist in the effective governance of the Centre.

Brian Moss

Brian is a Solicitor with Worthington's Solicitors where he specialises in judicial review litigation and disputes involving public law and human rights issues in a wide range of areas, with a particular interest in educational law, and in immigration.

Amanda Stewart

Amanda is part of the Senior Management Team at Northern Ireland Youth Forum. She leads on projects that are mainly focussed on housing, homelessness and mental health, ensuring that young people have their voices heard and are involved in decisions that affect their lives. Amanda is currently studying to become a psychotherapist as well as being a mummy to three amazing and lively boys! In her very limited spare time she likes to run (a little bit) and does yoga.

Shirelle Stewart

Shirelle is the Northern Ireland Director for the National Autistic Society. There are an estimated 700,000 people with autism in the UK and the society provides a range of services and supports to help them and their families.

Alicia Toal

Alicia is the Chief Executive of Voice of Young People In Care (VOYPIC) a children’s charity that promotes the rights and voice of children in care, aiming to ensure that every child has a safe, stable, and positive experience of care and is involved in decisions about their life.

Our Vision

A society where all children can participate, are valued, their rights are respected and guaranteed without discrimination and every child can achieve their full potential.

Our History

The Children's Law Centre was established in September 1997. It is founded upon the principles laid down in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.