Sanna Koulu

Field of science

Other field of science


  • child law, family studies, legal theory, human rights

Research interests

In my work as a post-doctoral researcher I focus on children's rights and agency in cases of stalking after their parents' separation or divorce. I work with empirical data from district courts as well as with legislation and jurisprudence.

My other research interests include the relationship between the family and the nation state; children’s rights as part of human rights and basic rights; as well as international child law and especially child abduction.

My doctoral dissertation on agreements concerning children was published in August 2014. The work, “Lapsen huolto- ja tapaamissopimukset. Oikeuden rakenteet ja sopivat perheet”, belongs to the field of family law, specifically child law. The work involves both pragmatic analysis of agreements on custody and visiting rights as well as more theoretical thought on subjectivity and personhood in law. Methodologically the work contributes to the discussion on the limits of law and the value of empirical knowledge.


Teaching interests

I am interested in combining legal and societal issues in my teaching. I teach child law and social law at various universities, and I also enjoy speaking on research methodology and research ethics. I believe in combining online courses, lectures, and independent exercises and reflection.

Earlier on I have been involved in planning the study programme on children’s rights within the Open University at the University of Helsinki. My own lectures have concerned the legal position of the child, broadly understood, as well as the case law of the European Court of Human Rights on protection of family life. The biennial study programme (25 study credits) has received praise for multidisciplinarity, challenging issues, as well as combining different forms of teaching and learning.

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