The Laboratory was created following an international conference on the rights of the child in March 2007, organized by the Faculty of Law and the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC). The conference brought together many experts from various backgrounds and nationalities. The creation of the Laboratory has allowed the continuation of the work that was initiated there and the realization of the projects that were outlined at the meeting.

The purpose of the IRLRC is to foster interdisciplinary research on issues related to children's rights and well-being. The range of research initiatives conducted by members and promoted by the Laboratory is vast and rich. A general framework for understanding the research conducted at IRLRC is to recognize the individual identity of the child when it comes to his or her rights. The framework also emphasizes the different systems that influence children and the study of children's rights, including families, schools, neighborhoods, the legal system, the child welfare system, and societies more generally.

In order to foster the development of research partnerships and to encourage the initiatives of its members, the Laboratory has grouped the research axes it favours under four complementary themes: The Child and the Law; The Child and the Family; The Child, the State and Society; and Reflections on Child-Focused Research Methodologies.