Universiteit Leiden

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Ton Liefaard

Professor Children's Rights

Prof.dr.mr. T. Liefaard
+31 71 527 2727

Professor Ton Liefaard is Full Professor of Children’s Rights and Head of the Department of Child Law and Health Law. He has held the UNICEF Chair in Children’s Rights at Leiden University since 2012. Ton Liefaard served as Vice Dean of Leiden Law School between 2018 and 2023.

More information about Ton Liefaard

Ton Liefaard teaches children’s rights from an international and comparative perspective and has published widely on the meaning of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and related international and regional instruments for the position of children on a national level. He is founder and the former Programme Director of the master's programme Advanced Studies in International Children's Rights. He also coordinates the Frontiers of Children’s Rights Summer School and initiated the Leiden Children’s Rights Observatory. In 2015, he received the award for Best Lecturer at Leiden Law School.

Ton Liefaard is a Deputy Justice at the The Hague Court of Appeal (although currently he is not active in this role). He served as a Deputy Juvenile Court Judge at the District Court of Amsterdam from 2010 until 2017. He was also a member of the Government Committee on the Reassessment of Parenthood (Staatscommissie Herijking Ouderschap), which advised the Dutch Government on changing parental relationships and the position of children. He served as a member of the Council for the Administration of Criminal Justice and Protection of Juveniles from October 2016 to October 2020. He regularly works as a consultant for international organisations, including agencies of the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Union, on issues related to children’s rights, juvenile justice, child friendly justice, access to justice, and violence against children, among others. He has served as a member of the international advisory board of the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Their Liberty. He is a member of the editorial boards of the International Journal of Children’s RightsYouth Justice and the Flemish Journal of Youth and Children’s Rights (Tijdschrift voor Jeugd en Kinderrechten).


  • PhD in law (VU University Amsterdam)
  • Master of Laws (VU University Amsterdam)

Dissertation title

T. Liefaard, Deprivation of Liberty of Children in Light of International Human Rights Law and Standards, Antwerp/Oxford/Portland: Intersentia publishing 2008.

UNICEF Chair in Children's Rights

The UNICEF Chair in Children’s Rights was established in March 2012 and is the result of a special collaboration between Leiden University, UNICEF the Netherlands and the Leids Universiteits Fonds (LUF). It aims to promote academic research and education for students and professionals in the field of international children’s rights. Leiden University, and more specifically Leiden Law School, has a joint commitment with UNICEF Nederland to supporting the chair financially and additional fundraising for the chair's various academic and societal activities and initiatives. The LUF has set up a special fund called the UNICEF Fund Chair Children’s Rights to accommodate this collaboration.

See also: UNICEF Chair – Pioneering International Children’s Rights

Professor Children's Rights

  • Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid
  • Instituut voor Privaatrecht
  • Jeugdrecht en Gezondheidsrecht

Work address

Kamerlingh Onnes Building
Steenschuur 25
2311 ES Leiden
Room number C2.06




  • Raad voor Strafrechtstoepassing en Jeugdbescherming (Advisory Council Dutch Gvt on Criminal Justice) External expert (ad hoc)
  • Brill | Nijhoff Publishers Member Editorial Board The International Journal of Children's Rights
  • Sage Journals Lid Editorial Board Youth Justice
  • Gerechtshof Den Haag Raadsheer-plaatsvervanger (wordt in deze functie momenteel niet ingezet)
  • International Child Development Initiatives Committee of Recommendation
  • Larcier (België) Redactielidmaatschap Tijdschrift voor Jeugd- en Kinderrechten
  • Council of Europe - Children's Rights Division Expert / consultant ad hoc
  • UNICEF Expert / consultant ad hoc
  • Kluwer - Tijdschrift voor Familie- en Jeugdrecht Medewerker
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