This platform has been developed by Leiden University in partnership with UNICEF and in collaboration with University College Cork.

Author team

Aims and Scope

The aim of this platform is to provide guidance to States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) undertaking legislative reform to respect, protect and fulfil obligations enshrined in the Convention, through their legislation.

Children’s rights legislative reform is understood as the reform of existing legislation and/or the development of new legislation to implement the CRC, in line with Article 4 of the CRC. It ultimately aims to ensure that all domestic legislation is fully compatible with the CRC and its Optional Protocols (OPSC, OPAC and OPIC), and that its principles and provisions can be directly applied and appropriately enforced within a certain jurisdiction (CRC GC 5, para. 1).

Undertaking children’s rights legislative reform is the responsibility of the State.

This platform primarily focuses on the CRC but recognises the important role that other international and regional human rights instruments play in the respect, protection and fulfilment of children’s rights (in line with art. 41 CRC).

It aims to support the effective implementation of the CRC and its Optional Protocols (implementing OPSC and OPAC, and strengthening children’s access to justice at the national and international level through OPIC) by:

  • providing up-to-date, user-friendly guidance to actors undertaking or supporting children’s rights legislative reform, including advice on both the process and the content, and answers to questions such as:
    • What is legislative reform; what is its purpose and what are its key elements?
    • Why should States engage in legislative reform?
    • Who are the key stakeholders in legislative reform?
    • How can States conduct a comprehensive legislative reform process?
  • providing practical examples of children’s rights legislative reform from various legal systems and traditions, across the globe.
    • This includes extracts from selected provisions of national legislation in different legal systems and traditions, accompanied by brief commentaries.
    • These examples are not intended to serve as models but rather as illustrations.

This platform aims to connect state-of-the-art knowledge and practical experience on the process of children’s rights legislative reform.

Limitations of the platform, references and feedback

All efforts have been made to provide up-to-date and accurate information. The platform, however, does not intend to be exhaustive.

The platform will be updated on a regular basis. Users are kindly invited to share examples of good practice. Feedback is also welcomed here.

The platform is based on the work of UNICEF Handbook on Legislative Reform: Realising Children’s Rights, 2008. The platform further builds on academic and other sources. Where relevant, references are provided. These sources may not always be open access, however, or permission may be required to access the publication directly from the author.

Where the platform provides references for further consultation, all efforts have been made to use open access sources.

UNICEF Chair in Children's Rights

Children's Rights Legislative Reform has been developed as part of the UNICEF Chair in Children's Rights, a special partnership between UNICEF the Netherlands, Leiden University and the Leiden University Fund.


This platform has been developed with the support of:

Advisory Group

  • Professor Ann Skelton (Chair UN Committee on the Rights of the Child; University of Pretoria and Leiden University);
  • Bragi Guðbrandsson (Member UN Committee on the Rights of the Child);
  • Professor Kirsten Sandberg (University of Oslo);
  • Professor Laura Lundy (Queen’s University Belfast, University College Cork);
  • Luis Pedernera (Member UN Committee on the Rights of the Child);
  • Dr Nicolás Espejo Yaksic (Centre for Constitutional Studies, Supreme Court Mexico);
  • Sophie Kiladze (Member UN Committee on the Rights of the Child).

Support Group

  • Begüm Şimşek, alumna of the Advanced LLM International Children’s Rights at Leiden University;
  • Chrisje Sandelowsky-Bosman, PhD researcher at Leiden University;
  • Cassandra Griffin, UNICEF intern;
  • Laura Marchetti Cardenas, alumna of the Advanced LLM International Children’s Rights at Leiden University.

Web design

Marcel Villerius, Leiden University.

Copy editing

Allison Mckechnie, ProseWorks.

The author team is very grateful for the support of the members of the advisory group as well as the contributions of members of the platform’s support group in reviewing (parts of) the website’s content. A special thanks to Marcel Villerius of Leiden University for designing the platform.