SOAS University of London

School of Law

Professor William Ballantyne

  • Teaching


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Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law (CIMEL)


Professor William Ballantyne


Formerly Visiting Professor of Arab Laws

Professor Ballantyne is an immensely experienced legal practitioner in the field of Arab Laws who has taught at SOAS for over 30 years.  He was first appointed by Prof Noel Coulson in the mid-1980s to assist with the teaching of a new and innovatory course entitled “Comparative Commercial Law in the Middle East” along with Prof Coulson and Ian Edge, the Founding Director of CIMEL. He later took over the sole teaching of the course when it was retitled “Arab comparative Commercial Law” and concentrated on the laws in the Arabian Peninsula in which Prof Ballantyne is one of the world’s  pre-eminent experts. He also used his immense knowledge of the workings of international arbitration to assist in the formation and teaching of the LLM courses on arbitration in which he still finds the time and energy to give present day students the wisdom of his experience.

Prof Ballantyne practices from Chambers at Serle Court in London and has been involved in some of the most important litigation involving Arab Laws in the last 30 years including such major cases as Aminoil v Kuwait (in which he was counsel for Aminoil); the Westland Helicopters case; Qatar v BAE and Westacre v Jugoimport and many others. 

He has published widely in the area of Arab Laws and developed almost single-handedly the highly regarded “Register of Arab Laws” which for many years was the sole source for many Arab Laws and is still an immensely useful tool for any legal practitioner in the field of Arab Laws.  He is at present preparing his memoirs for publication.

Publications: Commercial Law in the Arab Middle East: The Gulf States (Lloyd’s of London Press, 1986); Law and Development in Arabia (Graham & Trotman, 1980); A Register of Laws of the Arabian Gulf (Lloyd’s of London Press, 1985) and Essays and Addresses on Arab Law (2000).


Formerly Visiting Professor of Arab Laws, including LLM Arab Comparative Commercial Law; International Arbitration; LLM Dissertation supervision