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Introduction to Children's Rights


Please note that the following description of the course is only provisional and therefore subject to change.

Admission requirements

The course can be followed by law students, students from other relevant disciplines and exchange students.


Children’s rights have been of growing importance since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1989. This almost universally ratified human rights treaty stipulates that children must be regarded as bearers of human rights and fundamental freedoms. To this end, the CRC enshrines both civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. At the same time children are entitled to specific rights, special measures of protection which underscore the special position of the child, among others in relation to their parents and family, and the special responsibility of the State to safeguard the rights of children.
This course provides an introduction to children’s rights as part of international human rights law and addresses the meaning of the children’s rights framework for children at the domestic level. To this end, the key-principles of the CRC (arts 2, 3, 6 and 12) as well as its monitoring system will be highlighted. In addition, a number of specific issues will be addressed including, among others, child abuse and neglect, child protection and alternative care, children in conflict with the law (juvenile justice) and children in armed conflict.

Course objectives

  1. Students will acquire basic knowledge and understanding of the CRC and other international legal instruments concerning children.
    1. Students will acquire basic knowledge and understanding of a good picture of contemporary legal issues and developments regarding the specific position of children under international human rights law.
    2. Students will acquire basic knowledge and understanding of the different tools for implementing and monitoring children’s rights.
    3. Student will acquire basic knowledge and understanding of knowledge and insight in the theoretical aspects of different (legal) children’s rights issues.
    4. Students are able to present and defend their findings in the form of one or more written assignments, during discussions in class and to critically appraise the findings of other students.


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 10

  • Names of lecturers: Prof. dr. mr. T. Liefaard and various other (guest) lecturers

  • Required preparation by students: reading of literature/case law before class meetings and prepare questions for discussion.

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • Written assignment(s) (30% of final grade)

  • Written exam (70% of final grade)

Submission procedures
The written assignment(s) must be submitted in hard copy and digitally via Blackboard (Safe Asign).

Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the required reading (literature) for the course, the course information guide and the subjects taught in the lectures, the seminars and all other instructions which are part of the course.


More information on this course is offered in Blackboard.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

  • Reader (to be announced on Blackboard)

Course information guide:

  • Outline as posted on Blackboard


  • To be announced on Blackboard

Recommended course materials

  • To be announced on Blackboard


Students have to register for courses and exams through uSis.
Exchange students have priority and will be registered for the course first. Any remaining seats will be available for students from Leiden University and other Dutch Universities.

Contact information


  • Institution: Institute for Private Law

  • Division: Department of Child Law

  • Room number secretariat: KOG, room B2.43

  • Opening hours: Front desk from Monday/Friday 09h00 – 13h30 hours

  • Telephone number secretariat: 071 527 6056

  • E-mail:


  • A maximum of 75 students can participate in this course.

Meer weten over Jeugdrecht:
Studenten van de juridische opleidingen en criminologie met belangstelling voor het Jeugdrecht hebben de mogelijkheid hun gehele keuzeruimte (15 EC) te vullen met keuzevakken op het gebied van Jeugdrecht, eventueel als oriëntatie op de masteropleiding Jeugdrecht. Naast Children’s rights kunnen zij dan ook Inleiding Jeugdrecht en Juridische aspecten van kindermishandeling volgen.
NB Deze keuzevakken zijn geen ingangseis voor de masteropleiding Jeugdrecht en ze vertonen ook geen (noemenswaardige) overlap met deze masteropleiding.