School of Law

Professor Lynn Welchman

Key information

School of Law Professor of Law with particular reference to the Middle East and North Africa School of Law Deputy Director of Research School of Law 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
School of Law
MA (Cantab), PhD (London)
Senate House
Email address
Telephone number
+44 (0)20 7898 4672
Support hours
Wednesdays, 10:00am - 12:00pm (noon)


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 teaching Islamic law tutorials and seminars as well as Gender, Law and Society in the Middle East and North Africa, and half of the module Human Rights and Islamic Law. She designed and convenes the International Human Rights Clinic (not running this year), 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.

Lynn Welchman was born in Romford and brought up in Liverpool and then Great Yarmouth on the Norfolk coast. Her family on her mother’s side are Welsh sheep farmers; on her father’s side, restaurateurs and publicans. She attended state school and her summer jobs included working in a cigarette kiosk on Yarmouth’s Britannia Pier, cleaning bathrooms in an Austrian youth hostel and packing boxes on the line at Smiths Crisps factory. Lynn supports Liverpool in football and Wales in rugby. She went to Cambridge University on a full state grant and studied Arabic and Persian at Clare College, escaping for a year to Cairo where she supported herself through teaching English. After graduating 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 on the International Advisory Board of the Open Society Foundation’s MENA office.

Lynn 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 spring this year (2021) her book about al-Haq will be published with the University of California Press. 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

If you do watch it, you will have the delight of seeing Prof Ziba Mir-Hosseini at the beginning, and Prof Abdullahi an-Na`im at the end. Lynn’s husband, Akram al-Khatib (mentioned by Abdullahi), is from Jerusalem; they were introduced by a mutual friend in 2001 - in SOAS, of all places.

Academic support hours

Term 2: Wednesdays 9:30am - 11:30am

If your timetable, other commitments or time zone makes such meetings impossible, please email Prof Welchman to agree a time.


Please book a 15 minute appointment. When the time comes, join the meeting at the Teams link shown there and wait for your appointment to start.

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: Experiences of Muslims, Druze and Christians on Matters of Personal Status Laws | A Legal Anthropology Study
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
Ms 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