Ms Nelleke Koffeman LL.M

  • ECHR
  • (European) protection of human rights

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 6444
Faculty / Department: Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid, Instituut voor Publiekrecht, Europees Recht
Office Address: Kamerlingh Onnes Gebouw
Steenschuur 25
2311 ES Leiden
Room number Flex
Personal Homepage:​org/​publiekrecht/​europainstituut/​koffeman-nr.jsp

Curriculum Vitae

Nelleke Koffeman obtained her master’s degree in Constitutional and Administrative Law at Leiden University in 2006. During her studies she was 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 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.

Since February 2008, Koffeman is a PhD-candidate at the Europa Institute. Her research focuses on the impact of cross-border movement on diverging human rights standards in morally sensitive issues within the European Union. During the first year of her appointment Koffeman contributed to the so-called Fundamental Rights Agency Group of Legal Experts (FRALEX) that was given the task of providing the EU Fundamental Rights Agency in Vienna with information concerning the human rights situation in the Netherlands.


(working) title of PhD research: The impact of EU fundamental freedoms on diverging human rights standards; a need for (European) regulation?
Supervisors: Professor R.A. Lawson and Professor J.H. Gerards (Nijmegen University)

In her PhD research Koffeman investigates how the increased cross-border movement in the European Union affects the enjoyment of fundamental rights in morally sensitive issues. Even within the relatively homogeneous EU there is still considerable diversity in the interpretation of fundamental rights, for instance in respect of the rights of the unborn, the right to personal autonomy and the right to marry. EU citizens or residents may deliberately search for a different level of protection of these fundamental rights in other EU Member States. Cross-border abortions cross-border reproductive care and cross-border surrogacy are good examples in this respect. Another situation occurs when the free movement of EU citizens or residents is hindered by differences in the level of protection of fundamental rights in other EU Member States. Here, one may think of an EU-citizen or resident who wishes to move to another Member State for work purposes, but whose same-sex partner is not able join, as the host-state does not recognise their registered partnership or marriage. Koffeman’s research investigates how the various applicable legal regimes at both state and European level respond to such cross-border situations. Two case-studies are conducted, one seeing at reproductive rights, the other at legal recognition of  same-sex relationships. To limit the scope of the research, the thesis zooms in on the legal regimes of three EU Member States with different approaches to these sensitive issues, namely Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands. From the case-studies the interests of the three most prominent actors involved in the cross-border situations central to this research are inferred. These concern the individual, the state and the Union. The question is raised how their interests should be balanced at what level that balance should be struck.

In the course of her PhD research Koffeman twice had the opportunity to visit distinguished foreign universities. From March to August 2011, she was a visiting researcher at the chair of prof. Baer at the Humboldt University in 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 DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service and the Leiden University Fund (LUF) respectively.

As collaborator of the Dutch legal journal Ars Aequi, Nelleke Koffeman is 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 regularly updated –  she has written 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 further includes book contributions, conference proceedings, reports, journal articles and case notes (see the publications tab on this page). Koffeman has presented at various (international) conferences and seminars.


Nelleke Koffeman teaches various courses, 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), European Convention on Human Rights (5 ECTS course for exchange bachelor students), Introduction to European Law (5 ECTS course in the first year of the bachelor) and European Law (5 ECTS course in the third year of the bachelor). She also supervises both bachelor theses and master theses.

Last Modified: 18-03-2014