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PhD Candidate, Department of Child Law, Leiden University

Claire Achmad is a human rights lawyer with broad expertise in public international law, human rights and international child law matters. She is currently undertaking her PhD through the Department of Child Law, Leiden Law School on the topic of international commercial surrogacy and the rights of the child, through a public international law framework. Claire has practised as in-house counsel for the New Zealand government, and served as the Senior Advisor to the Chief Human Rights Commissioner and Executive Director of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission. She has also held the position of Child Rights Research and Advocacy Officer for UNICEF the Netherlands, and authored reports on a number of child rights issues. She is recognised as an expert on international commercial surrogacy and children’s rights under international law, and has published and addressed audiences on this topic internationally. Claire holds an LLM (cum laude) in Advanced Studies in Public International Law from Leiden University and undergraduate degrees in Law and Arts from the University of Auckland. She is committed to pro-bono work and is a volunteer lawyer at her local community law centre, working on human rights and refugee matters.

Career highlights:

- Senior Advisor to the Chief Human Rights Commissioner and Executive Director, New Zealand Human Rights Commission (Wellington, New Zealand)
- Child Rights and Advocacy Officer, Child Rights and Advocacy Team, UNICEF the Netherlands (The Hague, the Netherlands)
- Solicitor (Human Rights and Litigation) Policy and Legislation Team, Legal Services National Office, Ministry of Social Development (Wellington, New Zealand)

Papers presented at the following conferences:

- Crossing Boundaries: Reproductive Travel in Asia (La Trobe University, Melbourne, December 2014)
- International Conference on Surrogacy and Human Rights (ITM University, New Delhi, November 2014)
- First Global Forum on Statelessness (the Hague, September 2014)
- International Adoption and Surrogacy Conference - Family Formation in the 21st
Century (New Zealand Law Society, Wellington and Auckland, April 2014)
- World Social Work and Social Development Conference (Stockholm, July 2012)
- Monitoring Children’s Rights in Europe (Council of Europe, Strasbourg, July 2012)
- Deconstructing and Reconstructing 'Mother' Conference (Columbia University, New York, April 2012)
- International Workshop on National Approaches to Surrogacy (Aberdeen University, August-September 2011)
- Lexis Nexis Child Law Conference (Auckland, April 2010)

Areas of expertise:

- International Law
- Human Rights Law
- Children's Rights and Child Law
- Refugee and Immigration Law
- Public Law
- International Relations

Professional affiliations:

- Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand (admitted 2007)
- Member, Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law
- Rotary International Scholars Alumni


  • –present
    PhD Candidate, Department of Child Law, Leiden Law School, Leiden University


  • 2011 
    Leiden University, Master of Laws in Advanced Studies in Public International Law (cum laude) (Peace, Justice & Development specialisation)
  • 2007 
    Institute of Professional Legal Studies, Certificate of Professional Legal Studies, Institute of Professional Legal Studies
  • 2006 
    University of Auckland (and University of Copenhagen), Bachelor of Laws
  • 2006 
    University of Auckland, Bachelor of Arts (Political Studies major)


  • 2014
    'Case Analysis: Children’s rights to the fore in the European Court of Human Rights’ first international commercial surrogacy judgments', European Human Rights Law Review, Issue 6
  • 2014
    'International Commercial Surrogacy and Children’s Rights – Babies, Borders, Responsibilities and Rights', New Zealand Law Society, International Adoption and Surrogacy - family formation in the 21st Century
  • 2014
    ‘International Commercial Surrogacy: 21st Century Global Families in Transition’, S.Hessle (ed.), Global Social Transformation and Social Action: The Role of Social Workers (Surrey: Ashgate)
  • 2013
    ‘Chapter 18: New Zealand’, K. Trimmings and P. Beaumont (eds.), International Surrogacy Arrangements (Oxford: Hart Publishing)
  • 2012
    ‘Understanding international commercial surrogacy and the parties whose rights and interests are at stake in the public international law context’, New Zealand Family Law Journal, Vol. 7, Part 7
  • 2012
    ‘Public international law human rights issues: What are the rights and interests of women and children at stake in international commercial surrogacy arrangements?’, New Zealand Family Law Journal, Vol. 7, Part 8
  • 2012
    Street Children Have Rights Too: Report for the International Children’s Peace Prize , Kids Rights and Leiden University
  • 2012
    Return of Separated Children to Return Houses in Countries of Origin, UNICEF the Netherlands
  • 2010
    ‘Intercountry adoptions under the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption’ (with J. Mountfort), New Zealand Family Law Journal, Vol. 6, Part 11

Grants and Contracts

  • 2014
    Educational grant (travel and attendance costs)
    Funding Source:
    New Zealand Netherlands Foundation
  • 2012
    Study grant (travel costs)
    Funding Source:
    Leids Universiteits Fonds
  • 2011
    European Union Lifelong Learning Programme Scholarship
    NICLAS International Constitutional Law Summer School on Migration, European University Institute, Florence, Italy
    Funding Source:
    European Union Lifelong Learning Programme
  • 2010
    Young Corporate Lawyer of the Year Award
    Most outstanding in-house legal counsel in New Zealand with less than five years post-admission experience
    Funding Source:
    CLANZ and Bell Gully
  • 2010
    Rotary Global Grant Scholarship
    Global Grant Scholar
    Funding Source:
    Rotary Foundation (Rotary International)