Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Mariëlle Bruning

Professor of Children and the Law

Prof.mr.drs. M.R. Bruning
+31 71 527 8913

Mariëlle Bruning is a Professor of Child Law at Leiden Law School.

More information about Mariëlle Bruning


Professor Mariëlle Bruning joined Leiden Law School's Institute of Private Law in October 2004 as a Professor of Child Law. She is the Programme Director of the Dutch LL.M. in Child Law, a specialised programme for those working with and for children in the legal field. Bruning teaches various courses in child law for bachelor’s and master’s students and post-academic courses for professionals. She teaches Child Protection and Children’s Rights in the LL.M. Advanced Studies in International Children’s Rights programme.


Mariëlle Bruning graduated with master’s degrees in Law and Liberal Arts & Sciences from the University of Maastricht. She obtained her PhD at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She took up the position of Professor of Child Law at Leiden Law School in 2004. She had previously worked as an Assistant Professor (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Senior Legal Consultant at a youth care agency (Bureau Jeugdzorg Noord-Holland) and Programme Manager for children’s rights organisation Defence for Children International – ECPAT Netherlands.

In 2012, she set up the Dutch LL.M. programme in Child Law at Leiden Law School's Department of Child Law. She is the Programme Director of the LL.M. in Child Law and also teaches modules of the LL.M. Advanced Studies in International Children’s Rights, which was set up in 2015 by the Department of Child Law. In addition, she is a member of Leiden University's Academic Integrity Committee.


Mariëlle Bruning regularly publishes articles on youth care, child protection, child abuse and children’s rights issues. Her recent publications focus on children's participation in family law and child protection proceedings, international obligations in relation to tackling child abuse in the Netherlands, the rights of minors placed in care, the impact of the Dutch Youth Act and the revised child protection measures on the rights of minors and addressing the impact of international children’s rights in the Netherlands.

Her research focuses on the legal position of the child and the triangular relationships between the rights and duties of parents, children and the state, with a special focus on child protection, youth care, children in alternative care (out-of-home placement), legal aspects of child abuse and child participation in legal proceedings.

Professor Bruning has extensive experience in contract research and consultancy in the wider field of child law. She is experienced in multidisciplinary research. She was responsible for the Evaluation of the Act on the Dutch Ombudsman for Children and she participated in the First Evaluation of the Dutch Youth Act (2018, commissioned by ZonMW). She conducted research on the topic of the child’s right to be heard and the legal status of minors in family law and child protection proceedings, focusing on whether the age limit for hearing twelve-year-old minors should be lowered and whether minors should be given more opportunities to initiate proceedings themselves (2018-2019, commissioned by the WODC). She also works in international research teams focusing on child participation in family law and access to justice for children.

She is currently conducting a legal evaluation of the revised regulation on child protection orders (commissioned by WODC).

Ancillary functions

Bruning is an honorary Deputy Judge at the Amsterdam Court (in the Family and Youth department). As of 2018, she is a member of the Supervisory Board of SOS Children’s Villages Netherlands. Since 2019, she has also been a member of the Supervisory Board of Stichting De Thuisbasis Sociaal Werk. From 2018 to 2019, Bruning was a member of the Group of Experts on Responses to Violence Against Children (CAHENF-VAC) of the Council of Europe, which was established to assist CAHENF in improving the implementation of international and Council of Europe standards on the protection of children from violence in Member States. She has been a Consultant for the working group on mandatory reporting systems and drafted a new recommendation for professionals on strengthening reporting systems on violence against children, in collaboration with the Council of Europe's Children's Rights Office. From 2015 to 2019, she was a member of Committee De Winter, a committee that investigated violence in youth care. From 2022 to 2025, she is on the Dutch Inquiry Committee investigating the adoption of children of unmarried women between 1956 and 1984.

From 2012 to 2017, Bruning was Editor-in-Chief of the Dutch Journal of Family and Child Law.

Professor of Children and the Law

  • Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid
  • Instituut voor Privaatrecht
  • Jeugdrecht en Gezondheidsrecht

Work address

Kamerlingh Onnes Building
Steenschuur 25
2311 ES Leiden
Room number C2.13




  • commissie binnenlandse afstand en adoptie (commissie De Winter II) commissielid
  • Stichting De Thuisbasis lid Raad van Toezicht
  • SOS Kinderdorpen Nederland lid Raad van Toezicht
  • universiteit Leiden lid commissie wetenschappelijke integriteit
  • Tijdschrift voor Gezondheidsrecht lid redactieraad
  • Rechtbank Amsterdam Rechter-plaatsvervanger (team familie- en jeugd)
This website uses cookies.  More information.