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Economic, Social And Cultural Rights Of Children


Admission requirements

Masters Degree


This course focuses on an advanced understanding of emerging jurisprudence on economic, social and cultural rights, specifically as they pertain to children. It will review the theoretical and historical foundations of socio-economic rights as human rights, highlight their significance for children and their wellbeing, and identify the relevance of the various international legal frameworks to domestic implementation and the fulfilment of children’s rights. The course will review not only the contents, standards and means of enforcing social, economic and cultural rights, but also explore in particular the positive state obligations in respect to their fulfilment. Since the terrain of economic, social and cultural rights is fairly extensive, the course will hone in on the right to health, the right to have access to social security and an adequate standard of living (poverty alleviation and children’s rights), and the right to education (including early childhood education). Cultural rights will also receive attention via a student initiated project.

Central themes that form part of the core understanding of this course include the concepts of progressive realisation of rights, minimum core content, the justiciability of social, economic and cultural rights at the international, regional and domestic level, the meaning of “reasonableness” in the context of socio-economic rights implementation, available budgetary resources, retrogressive measures and international cooperation.

The fourth or final week of the course will be a litigation workshop focussing on selected cases in the domain of economic social and cultural rights, drawing from jurisprudence of domestic courts and international treaty bodies.

Course objectives

After the course the student will be able to:

  • assess the linkages between different treaty bodies and other international organisations and their approaches to children’s economic, social and cultural rights;

  • interpret the theoretical concepts which have emerged in the jurisprudence on economic social and cultural rights;

  • engage with concepts such as reasonableness, retrogressive measures, available budgetary resources, the 4 ‘A’ scheme relevant to the right to education, and the respective roles of states and families in fulfilling children’s claims to social economic and cultural rights;

  • dissect jurisprudence from selected domestic cases and findings of international treaty bodies in order to apply theoretical concepts to practical examples emanating from litigation;

  • identify how social and economic rights claims intersect with economic considerations;

  • assess litigation strategies that can be pursued in the context of social and economic rights.

Mode of Instruction

Lectures: 4 weeks of lectures of 2 hours
Seminars: 4 weeks of seminars of 2 hours
Workshop: 1 day long workshop on selected cases
Presentations by students: 1 three hour session

Assessment method

  • Presentations in student-led seminars – 40%
    Students will prepare – in pairs – written assignments of 3000 words upon which they will base a presentation regarding the subject matter of the course. A list of topics to choose from will be provided at the beginning of the course. Afterwards they will lead the class discussion. The results of the presentation , the written assignment and their role in the discussion will result in a group mark that counts for 40% of the final grade.

  • Exam – 60%
    Students will complete the course by an exam, that counts for 60% of the final grade (exam materials: all the prescribed compulsory literature and topics discussed during lectures).

Submission procedures:
Students are expected to submit the written assignment via e-mail and by hard copy to the co-ordinator within 24 hours of the presentation to the class.

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average.

The opportunity exists to re-take the exam and assignment. Further information will be communicated through Blackboard.


Literature will be distributed through Blackboard.
Submission of papers via Blackboard using SafeAssign.

Course materials

A list of all study materials will be published on Blackboard. Unless otherwise indicated, all study materials are available via the online catalogue or as a paper copy in the Leiden Law Library. Where possible, all required and recommended reading materials will be made available through Blackboard.


Coordinator of the course:
Dr. Katrien Klep
Telephone number: 0031-71 527 1325
Email address:

Programme Officer:
Ms. Esther Uiterweerd
Telephone number: 0031- 71 527 4644