Tom Zwart studied law at Leiden University. He was Senior Counsel to the Deputy Prime Minster, the Netherlands and head of the Department at the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (1993–1997) and Visiting Fellow, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge (2003). Since 1997 he has been Professor at Utrecht University at the Faculty of law, specializing in human rights. From 2005 to 2008, he was Dean of the Utrecht School of Law.
Since 2007 he works as Director of the School of Human Rights Research at the University of Utrecht. He is also Director of the Summer School of Global Justice and is China-Coordinator of the Utrecht School of Law.