From 1999 to 2003, she was the National Project Coordinator of the Child Justice Project. This was a United Nations technical assistance project of the South African Government. The project won an Impumelelo Award for innovation.
Dr Skelton has presented papers at numerous conferences across the world and has published widely on child law and restorative justice. Dr Skelton has lectured both undergraduate and postgraduate students. She has travelled extensively and is a member of various national and international bodies dealing with human rights and children’s rights.
Before being appointed to director’s position at the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Child Law, Dr Skelton was the Project Coordinator for the Children’s Litigation Project at the same centre.
The aim of the project is to take public interest impact litigation to the courts in order to advance child law and children’s rights. The work includes devising and maintaining a litigation strategy, screening and identifying cases for suitability or building cases that will establish rights for a group of children. The project undertakes research to support the litigation, drafts legal documents, brings and defends cases before the superior courts, and publicises court findings through relevant journals and newsletters.
The Centre for Child Law has been involved in several high profile cases, and Dr Skelton appeared twice before the Constitutional Court last year, presenting amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) submissions.
Dr Skelton’s vision for the Centre for Child Law is to promote and develop the recognition of child law so that is taken seriously as an important area of law. This, she believes, will be achieved through strategic test litigation, as well as through writing and teaching about new laws and legal developments relating to children.
“My aim is to mainstream the knowledge of child law to a wide range of legal academics and practitioners. Children will benefit from the increased knowledge of their rights and of protective provisions designed to assist them,” she said.