nl en

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. Children are also 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. At the same time, children live in a rapidly changing world in which changes in climate, technology and the economy pose challenges to the realisation of these rights. This course introduces 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 general 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 (child justice), children’s rights in migration and children’s rights and the environment.

Course objectives

  1. Students are able to identify contemporary real-life situations of children that are problematic from a children’s rights perspective and explain why these situations are problematic.
  2. Students are able to identify and explain the theoretical aspects of different (legal) children's rights issues.
  3. Students are able to identify and explain the different tools for implementing and monitoring children's rights.
  4. Students are able to apply the CRC to specific cases and theses, with the help of General Comments of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and related international and regional legal instruments.
  5. Students are able to reflect upon critical and topical children's rights issues in one or more written assignments and during discussions in class.


Check MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 10

  • Names of lecturers: various (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 exam (90%)

  • Participation through weekly journals (10%)

Students have to turn in a weekly journal (1 A4; further instructions will be published on Brightspace) on the course materials (i.e. five in total). If all five journals have been turned in, this will be graded with a 10 (i.e. counting for 10% of the final grade). Each journal that will not be handed in and/or is not satisfactory, results in a deduction of 2 points. If no journals have been turned in, students will not be allowed to participate in the written exam.

The final grade (the written exam and participation through the weekly journals together) should be a 5.5 or higher to pass the course. Students may retake the written exam if the grade point average of the course components is below 5.5. The grade for the participation through weekly journals remains valid for the retake. It is up to the discretion of the course coordinator whether the retake will be a written exam or an oral examination. The retake accounts for 100% of the final grade. Hence, the grade for the journals is irrelevant for the retake.
If students fail the course, remaining grades with a satisfactory result will not remain valid.

Submission procedures
The weekly journals must be submitted digitally via Brightspace.

Areas to be tested within the exam
There is no syllabus for this course. Per lecture, reading lists will be published on Brightspace, also introducing the topic of that lecture. Examination 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.

Regulation retake passed exams
In this course it is possible to retake an exam that has been passed (cf. art. 4.1.8 and further of the Course and Examination Regulations). Students who have passed the exam may retake the final written assessment (test) of the course if they meet certain requirements. For more information, go to the website > ‘Law’ tab > ‘Retake a passed exam’.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

  • Reading list (to be announced on Brightspace)

Course information guide and schedule:

  • Outline as posted on Brightspace

Recommended course materials

  • To be announced on Brightspace


Registration for courses and exams takes place via MyStudymap. If you do not have access to MyStudymap (guest students), look here (under the Law-tab) for more information on the registration procedure in your situation.

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.


  • Coordinator: via secretariat Child Law

  • Work address: Department of Child Law, KOG

  • Telephone number: 071 527 6056

  • E-mail:


  • Institution: Private Law

  • Division: Department of Child Law

  • Room number secretariat: KOG, room B2.43

  • Opening hours: Front desk from Monday/Friday 09h00 – 17h00 hours

  • Telephone number secretariat: 071 527 6056

  • E-mail:


  • A maximum of 120 students can participate in this course.