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Design of Justice: The juvenile courtroom of the future




When a child has to go to court and comes into contact with a judge, this is often a very exciting and impressive experience. Research has shown that children and young people who are in contact with the law would like to tell their own story to the judge when an important decision is made in their lives. However, this is only possible in a meaningful way when conditions are adapted to children. This means that the courtroom, which is embedded in a formal institution and hierarchical structure, needs adjustments to facilitate communication between the child, the judge and other actors involved.

In this course it is aimed to design the juvenile court of the future by bringing students from different disciplines together. This course is taught together with teachers and students from the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague. University honours students and art academy students will jointly design prototypes of courtrooms that are suitable for speaking to children and young people. In addition to the practical component of the course, it will focus on socio-legal topics such as international children's rights and developments in the field of child-friendly justice, communicating with children and young people in institutional settings and on design-thinking and layout of functional spaces.

The course is taught in collaboration with the societal organisations Law as Changemakers and Young in Prison foundations, a district court and legal professionals, such as judges, prosecutors, court clerks and lawyers and young people as experienced experts. The creative development process, founded on legal principles and theoretical insights, will form a co-creation that will lead to the ideal juvenile court of the future. The prototypes will be presented to relevant stakeholders.


This course aims to bring together socio-legal knowledge and insights on child participation in the justice system, with practical skills and thinking about how to adapt formal structures to make these more user-friendly for children and young people involved in the justice system and for legal professionals.

At the end of the course students have obtained the following qualifications:

  • gaining knowledge and understanding of the main principles and practices of child participation in the justice system and the legal structures involved;

  • gaining knowledge and understanding of the key issues concerning design-thinking and its application in legal practice;

  • conducting socio-legal desk research and translating these insights into practical applications to be used in the courtroom;

  • collaborating in multi-disciplinary teams and presenting the collaborative work.


Weekly seminars on Wednesdays in Leiden and The Hague.
Various guest lecturers from both institutions as well as from practice will be involved.
Students are required to work in multi-disciplinary groups to develop a collaborative end product (the design or form is free to choose).


The seminars will most likely be held on Wednesday afternoons in the period of Block 3, for seven weeks, starting in the week of 1 February, up to and including the week of 15 March.
That concerns:
Wednesday 3 February
Wednesday 10 February
Wednesday 17 February
Wednesday 24 February
Wednesday 3 March
Wednesday 10 March
Wednesday 17 March


  • Written group assignment (50%)

  • Group presentation (50%)

Next to the end product that is designed together with the KABK students, Honours College students will need to submit a written group assignment in the form of an academic paper.
The final group presentation will be held together with KABK students.

As usual for HC Law, attendance and participation is obliged.


This course will use Brightspace.


A list of all study materials will be published on Brightspace. Unless otherwise indicated, all study materials are available via the online catalogue of the Leiden Law Library.


Registration via the administration of Honours College Law:

Minimum en maximum aantal deelnemers

Maximum of 15 students


  • Vakcoördinator: Dr. Stephanie Rap

  • Werkadres: Kamerlingh Onnesgebouw, Steenschuur 25, 2311 ES, Leiden, kamer B3.43

  • Bereikbaarheid: per e-mail

  • Telefoon: 071 527 3625 (6056 - secretariaat)

  • E-mail: