Sloth-Nielson, Julia

Position: Dean of Faculty of Law at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Member of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child


Julia Sloth-Nielsen is senior professor and currently Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa.

During the 1990s, she managed the Children’s Rights Project of the Community Law Centre at the University of the Western Cape. She served on the South African Law Reform Commission’s Project Committee on Juvenile Justice, which developed the initial versions of what was eventually the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008. She also served on the SALRC Project Committee, which developed the Children’s Act 38 of 2005. Since then she has worked widely on child law reform in the region, including in Southern Sudan, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho and Zanzibar.

Author of more than 50 accredited journal articles, she has also presented numerous conference papers on themes such as children’s socio-economic rights, juvenile justice, child abuse and registers, and intercountry adoption. She has an extensive record of supervision of post graduate students at both LLM and LLD level, particularly in fields related to children’s rights in an African context. Her students are drawn from countries throughout  Africa, and much effort is made to raise funds from various donor sources for their studies at the University, without which their academic progress cannot be secured.

Her book, Children’s Rights in African context: a legal perspective, was published by Ashgate in 2008.

She is an acknowledged expert on the work of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, having published regularly on meetings of that committee and on the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, now ratified by 45 African member states. On two occasions she has been invited to give an expert presentation to the Comittee: on the duties of the child under the Charter, and on the meaning of the best interests of the child standard in the Charter. She developed and presented an induction workshop for incoming and existing members of the Committee in November 2010.

She teaches nationally and internationally on child rights topics, including on the African child rights system.

She is currently working on a book on the Child Justice Act, on several academic articles, and on a book relating to the African Children’s Charter.

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