School of Law, Gender and Media & Centre for Human Rights Law

Professor Lynn Welchman

Key information

School of Law, Gender and Media Professor of Law with particular reference to the Middle East and North Africa School of Law, Gender and Media Deputy Director of Research School of Law, Gender and Media LLM and MA Islamic Law Convenor Centre for Global Media and Communications Associate Member Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies Member Centre for Human Rights Law Member
MA (Cantab), PhD (London)
Senate House
Email address
Telephone number
+44 (0)20 7898 4672
Support hours
Term 1 only: Tuesdays 2:30pm – 4.30pm


Lynn Welchman is Professor of Law with particular reference to the Middle East and North Africa.

She was recruited to SOAS as a lecturer in Islamic Law in 1997, and this term is convenng and teaching Gender, Law and Society in the Middle East and North Africa, and the International Human Rights Clinic, for which she was joint winner of the SOAS Director’s prize for Inspirational Teaching in 2019. She has been the Law School’s head of department and held a number of other senior positions in the department and at SOAS level.

She studied Arabic and Persian at Clare College, with a year in Cairo where she supported herself through teaching English. After graduating from Cambridge as an Honorary Scholar with college and Faculty prizes, she went to Birzeit University and then to work with al-Haq, the first Palestinian human rights organisation, in Ramallah.

She came to SOAS School of Law for her PhD (on family law and the shari`a courts in the West Bank, funded by the British Academy). She subsequently worked with other Palestinian human rights groups, and has also worked with international human rights groups, mostly in the Middle East and North Africa but occasionally elsewhere (Haiti and Rwanda), before and also since coming to work at SOAS.

She is a Board member of the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Support of Human Rights Defenders, and also served on the International Advisory Board of the Open Society Foundation’s MENA office and on the Board of INTERIGHTS (the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights). In December 2021 Prof Welchman was appointed by the President of the UN Human Rights Council to the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, a high level independent (unpaid) position in which she continues to serve.


Key publications

Prof Welchman has published widely, including Beyond the Code: Muslim Family Law and the Shari`a Courts in the Palestinian West Bank (2000); Women and Muslim Family Laws in Arab States (2007); and (co-edited with Sara Hossain) ‘Honour’: Crimes, Paradigms, and Violence Against Women (2005). In 2022 her book Al-Haq: A Global History of the First Palestinian Human Rights Organization (Univ Califonria Press, 2021) was a winner at the prestigious Palestine Book Awards.

If you would like to hear more about how she thinks the story of her studies, activism, writing and teaching fit together, you can watch her inaugural professorial lecture (2013), entitled Human Rights and the Middle East: a thousand and one stories, starting with Palestine

PhD Supervision

Name Title
Ms Noora Al-Saai Working title: Nationality and International, Mixed, and Minority Marriages in Qatar and select GCC Jurisdictions: A Sociolegal and Comparative Analysis
Tariq Al-Timimi (Working title) The Development of the Maqasid Model in the Modern Era and its utility to the application of Islamic law today
Bulama Bukarti An Assessment of Boko Haram's War from Islamic Law of War Perspective
Fatima Dhanani Navigating Legal Pluralism in Lebanon
Dr Moataz El Fegiery
Haje Keli An analysis of the gender-based violence in Iraqi Kurdistan – state, society and family violence [working title]
Mr Malik Kenewa The Islamic Sacred Months as a contemporary peace agreement
Mr Erhan Kucuk Asylum Seeking and Responsibility of States in Refugee Law: The Case of Turkish Asylum System
Dr Riccardo Labianco Public International Law and the Responsibility of Arms-Exporting States
Professor Roopa Madhav Beyond Judicial Veto: Public Trust Doctrine, Administrative Decision Making and Implementation of Mining Related Laws
Mrs Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode The Suicide Bombing Girls of Boko Haram; Between State and Structural Violence
Ammar Shamsuddin Gender parity in inheritance law in the United Arab Emirates


Contact Lynn