SOAS University of London

School of Law

HURIME Project

Human Rights in the Post-Uprisings Middle East: Emerging Discourses and Practices in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco

The popular Arab Spring uprisings in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region and their recent developments have proved the significant emancipatory potential of human rights and moved the human rights issue to the forefront of academic and political debates. This project deals with the human rights discourses and practices in the MENA region undergoing transition through the course of so-called Arab Spring by conducting a comparative analysis of two key countries; namely Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.

Read more about the HURIME Project

Age of consent and child-marriage in the British Empire

This interdisciplinary project aims to explore the debates that led to the reform of age of consent laws in UK and their introduction in other parts of the Empire at the end of the 19th Century. Intertwined within these debates are notions of gender, women’s rights, biology, and attempts to understand the ‘native’ psyche. These compete with tropes of cultural relativism, orientalism, the female victim, and the white (wo)man’s burden amongst other concerns. Read more...

Thai Rule of Law Project

This project is concerned with the application of the ‘rule of law’ to Thailand[1] and it seeks to engage academically with rule of law issues at a crucial time. The recent trend towards democratic constitutionalism has been interrupted by absolute rule and the protection of human rights under the law has been suspended.  Viewed from a historical standpoint the concept of rule of law might refer simply to the emergence of the idea of limited government. Read more...

Sanitation in India: Understanding a complex and controversial human right (2016)

This International Academic Fellowship of the Leverhulme Trust analysed the right to sanitation in India. Sanitation is a crucial challenge in India where hundreds of millions of people still practise open defecation and where inadequate sanitation is directly linked to the prevalence of waterborne diseases. There has been a sea change in attitudes towards sanitation throughout society and government in recent years. Despite this increased awareness, there is little research concerning the right to sanitation and the legal framework necessary to realise it. Read more...

Law, Human Rights and Peace Building in the Middle East

The Sir Joseph Hotung Programme for Law, Human Rights and Peace Building in the Middle East works to highlight and promote the use of international law and human rights in respect to the engagement of all parties, including third States, to Israeli-Palestinian relations. The goal is to generate policy-oriented scholarship that will support the development of practical strategies for a just and lasting peace in the region. Read more...

Other Projects

Comparative Family Law

An examination of issues in Chinese family law arising out of domestic  demographic, economic and ideological pressures for change, as well as globalisation.


Recently published outcomes include:

Michael Palmer, 'China’, in Elaine Sutherland (ed), The Future of Family and Child Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), p. 112-43.

Michael Palmer, ‘Domestic Violence and Mediation in Contemporary China,’ in Michael Palmer and Fu Hualing (eds), Mediation in Contemporary China: Continuity and Change (London: Wildy Simmonds and Hill, 2017). 

In progress:

China’s relaxation of the single-child family ideal and its impact on gender equality. 

Domestic violence prevention and treatment.

Comparative Education

Explorations in efforts to reform education, including legal education, in East Asia.


Recently published outcomes include:

Published outcomes include: Michael Palmer, 'Some Personal Reflections on Legal Development and Legal Education in China today', in Kuniko Tanaka (ed) Education in Asian Societies (Milan: Biblioteca Ambrosiana, 2014).

In progress:

T Bodenhorn, JP Burns and Michael Palmer (eds), Change, Contradiction and the State: Higher Education in Greater China.  

Issues of autonomy and control in China’s universities.

UKIERI - Climate Change and Groundwater Management in India (2013-2015)

The partnership project Climate Change and Groundwater Management: An Indian Law and Society Comparative Study is a joint initiative of LEDC and the National Law University, Delhi. The project seeks to build a long-term partnership between the two participating institutions and to research and work together in the area of environmental law, particularly the impact of climate change on groundwater and analyse and suggest improvements in the legal and policy framework. Read more...

Legal Issues Related to Water Sector Restructuring in India (2006-2009)

The project in partnership with Indian institutions, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), National Law School of India University, Bangalore (NLSIU) on Legal Issues Related to Water Sector Restructuring: Human Rights, Environment, Agriculture and Socio-Economic Aspects analysed the framework associated with the changing policy context for water use in India. Read more...

Comparative Dispute Resolution & ADR

An examination of issues of disputes and their resolution across a range of jurisdictions.

Published outcomes include:

Michael Palmer, ‘Formalisation of Alternative Dispute Resolution Processes: Some Socio-legal Thoughts’, in Joachim Zekoll, Moritz Bälz and Iwo Amelung (eds) Formalisation and Flexibilisation in Dispute Resolution (Leiden: Brill, 2014), p. 15–44.

Michael Palmer & Simon Roberts (eds) Dispute Processes: ADR and the Primary Forms of Decision Making (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed 2012).

Comparative Legal Studies

Explorations in comparative law and legal theory.

Recent published outcomes include:

Nicholas HD Foster, Maria Federica Moscati, and Michael Palmer (eds) Interdisciplinary Study and Comparative Law, London:Wildy Simmonds and Hill

This book, which is dedicated to the memory of distinguished scholar Professor Simon Roberts, is a collection of essays exploring themes and issues in the relationship between comparative legal studies and other disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. Read more...

Dispute Resolution in Contemporary China

An examination of changing patterns of dispute resolution in mainland China.

Published outcomes include:

Michael Palmer and Fu Hualing (eds), Mediation in Contemporary China: Continuity and Change (London: Wildy Simmonds and Hill, 2017).