Acute liver failure in neonates is rare, but carries a high mortality. Neonatal liver failure can be defined as "failure of the synthetic function of liver within 4 weeks of birth". Encephalopathy is not essential for the diagnosis. Acute liver failure in neonates differs from children with regard to aetiology and outcome. Common causes of neonatal liver failure are neonatal hemochromatosis, haematological malignancies, viral infections and liver-based metabolic defects. Early diagnosis and referral to a paediatric liver centre is recommended as liver transplantation is the only definitive treatment when supportive or a disease-specific treatment fails.