The Department of Child Law conducts doctoral and post-doctoral research in the area of child law and children's rights.

Y.N. van den Brink – Pre-trial Detention in the Dutch Juvenile Justice System

As Meijers Ph.D. Candidate, Yannick van den Brink conducts his doctoral research under supervision of prof Ton Liefaard and prof Mariëlle Bruning in the research programs Interaction between Legal Systems and Criminal Justice: Legitimacy, Accountability, and Effectivity.

His Ph.D. project builds on the research conducted in his previous master theses; the Ph.D. research analyses, through normative and empirical research methods, the function, legal incorporation and application of pre-trial detention within the specific context of the Dutch juvenile justice system in light of the international human rights principle that prohibits unlawful and arbitrary detention. Ultimately, the research aims to provide recommendations to the legislator, the judiciary and other stakeholders about how to safeguard that pre-trial detention of juveniles will be applied in a lawful and non-arbitrary manner.

M.P. de Jong – Justification of placement in closed youth care

Maria de Jong’s PhD-research is about the justification of placement in closed youth care. In 2010 almost 3,000 children were placed in closed youth care for an average period of 8.1 months. Closed youth care is a new (since 2008) residential (multi-)treatment programme for children aged 0-18 carried out in a secure institution. Closed youth care implicates deprivation of liberty and could be considered as one of the severest child protection measures under Dutch law. The central question is whether placement of children in closed youth care is lawful in light of international human rights and children’s rights standards. The thesis focuses on the aim of placement, the last resort character and duration and termination of placement. Recently she received extra funding for research about the participation of children in a court room case about their very own out of home placement in a closed facility.

K.A.M. van der Zon - The position of the foster child from a legal perspective

To be announced.

C. Achmad (external PhD)

Claire Achmad's doctoral research focusses on the current day phenomenon of international commercial surrogacy (ICS), from the perspective of the rights of the child in public international human rights law. Supervised by Professor Mariëlle Bruning and Dr Machteld Vonk, this builds on her LLM thesis (Leiden, Advanced Public International Law LLM, Peace, Justice and Development) which focussed on ICS from a child and women's rights perspective. ICS (whereby persons from one State pay money in order to have a child through a surrogacy arrangement in another State) is developing rapidly, with demand flowing predominantly from the global north to the globe south. ICS raises complex questions (among others) of bioethics, global migration, commodification of human reproductive functions and human life, and challenges the intersection of scientific technological advances and the development of the law. The rights of a number of parties are implicated and potentially impacted - the 'commissioning' parent(s), the surrogate mother, gamete donors, and the child who will be born through such arrangements. Claire's thesis argues that the child should be understood as the central locus of vulnerability in these transnational situations. Claire's research explores the ways in which international human rights law can be harnessed to provide protection for the rights of the child in ICS, and considers approaches for balancing the rights of the child and the competing rights of others. She intends for this work to provide a practical platform for approaches to the issue by the international community, to ensure the rights of the child are upheld and protected. As an external PhD candidate, Claire has worked in human rights related roles alongside her study in both the Netherlands (UNICEF) and New Zealand (New Zealand Human Rights commission). Claire is a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand and has previously practised as in-house counsel for the New Zealand government working predominantly in human rights, child law, and litigation.

M. Couzens - The enforcement of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by national courts (external PhD)

This project focuses on the engagement of the national courts with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). It departs from the premise that despite the wide ratification of the CRC, the Convention is far from having fulfilled its potential as a tool for the protection of the rights of children. In this context, the overall issue to be explored in this study refers to the potential contribution of national courts to advancing the CRC rights. The study identifies some of the legal and institutional constraints affecting the engagement of the national courts with the CRC, and proposes an exploration of transnational dialogue approach as a potential avenue to overcome some of the constraints identified above. Through the use of case studies, the study will show the potential interplay between 'bindingness' (and implicitly the institutional and legal constraints within which the courts operate) and dialogue, with a view of making recommendations for a more effective use of the CRC in national courts.

Last Modified: 25-01-2016