Ms Nelleke Koffeman LL.M

  • ECHR
  • (European) protection of human rights

Personal Homepage:​org/​publiekrecht/​europainstituut/​koffeman-nr.jsp


Nelleke Koffeman obtained her master’s degree in Constitutional and Administrative Law at Leiden University in 2006. During her studies she worked, inter alia, as student assistant at the Europa Institute of the Leiden Law School. She did internships at the human rights department of the Dutch Ministry of Justice, as well as at the Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. In 2007 she taught the Moot Court course in the field of Public International Law at Leiden Law School.

In 2008 Koffeman was appointed at the Europa Institute of the Leiden Law School.
She contributed to the so-called Fundamental Rights Agency Group of Legal Experts (FRALEX) network that was given the task of providing the EU Fundamental Rights Agency in Vienna with information concerning the human rights situation in the Netherlands.
From 2009 to 2015, Koffeman was PhD candidate and lecturer at the Europa Institute. After having received her doctorate degree in November 2015, she was appointed assistant professor in European law.


Koffeman’s PhD thesis, entitled Morally sensitive issues and cross-border movement in the EU. The cases of reproductive matters and legal recognition of same-sex relationships, will be published by Intersentia in the fall of 2015. It has been written under the supervision of prof. dr. R.A. Lawson and prof. mr. J.H. Gerards (Radboud University).

The dissertation analyses how the law responds to cross-border movement in respect of morally sensitive issues. Within European Union (EU) considerable diversity exists in respect of morally sensitive issues like legal recognition of same-sex relationships or reproductive matters, such as abortion, Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR) and surrogacy. States generally expressly claim recognition of such diversity and generally it is explicitly respected at European level, even though increasingly more (implicit) influence of European law is visible in these areas. Moreover, cross-border movement within the EU adds a new dimension to this complex picture. It implies, among other things, that States are increasingly more confronted with (the consequences of) one another’s regimes. For example, same-sex couples residing in one EU Member State claim recognition of their marriage concluded in another Member State, while women from Member States with restrictive abortion regimes resort to States with more liberal regimes. In her PhD thesis Koffeman explores this cross-border dimension, identifies a number of pressing questions and provides insight into the interests that are at stake in such situations. It is investigated for three national jurisdictions (Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands) as well as for the relevant European jurisdictions (EU law and the ECHR) what – if any – standard-setting is in place in respect of reproductive matters and legal recognition of same-sex relationships and how this developed over time. This analysis, inter alia, provides insight into what considerations and interests play or have played a role in legislative debates and case-law, in what respects the regimes studied differ and how European law has influenced national standard-setting in these areas. It furthermore provides the necessary basis for the subsequent analysis of how the relevant jurisdictions respond to cross-border movement in these areas and how they interact in this regard. By observing, clarifying and typifying an existing dynamic, whereby various areas and levels of law interact, Koffeman’s dissertation aims to reveal the analytical framework for decision-making regarding these issues.

In the course of her PhD research Koffeman has had the opportunity to visit distinguished foreign universities. From March to August 2011, she was a visiting researcher at the chair of prof. dr. dr. h.c. S. Baer at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, while from mid-January to mid-May 2013, she was a visiting research fellow at Fordham Law School in New York. For these visits she received scholarships from respectively DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service and the Leiden University Fund (LUF). Koffeman has furthermore visited NUI Galway in Ireland for short research visits (in 2009 and 2013).

As collaborator of the Dutch legal journal Ars Aequi, Nelleke Koffeman is – together with dr. F.M.J. den Houdijker – responsible for the ‘Kwartaalsignaal Europese Mensenrechten’ (a periodic overview of European Human Rights protection in Dutch). For Sdu CommentaarEVRM – a commentary to the European Convention on Human Rights and the case-law of the ECtHR in Dutch, which is also online available and regularly updated – she writes about certain elements of the right to respect for private life (Article 8 ECHR) that are related to personal autonomy and human dignity. As member of the so-called Leiden Court Watchers Koffeman regularly summarises case-law of the ECtHR for the Dutch legal journals Njb, NJ and RvdW. Her list of publications (see the publications tab) further includes book contributions, journal articles, case notes, conference proceedings and reports. Koffeman has presented at various (international) conferences and seminars.  


Nelleke Koffeman teaches and coordinates various courses at the Leiden Law School, both tutorials and lectures, and both in English and Dutch. These courses include: European Protection of Human Rights (5 ECTS course in the master European law), Protection of Human Rights in Europe (5 ECTS course for exchange bachelor students) and Introduction to European Law (5 ECTS course in the first year of the bachelor). Koffeman also supervises both bachelor theses (5 ECTS) and master theses (10 ECTS).

Last Modified: 20-06-2016