SOAS University of London

School of Law

Professor Lynn Welchman

MA (Cantab), PhD (London)
  • Teaching
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Lynn Welchmann
School of Law

Deputy Director of Research (Centres & Funding Lead)

Honour Crimes Project


Centre for Global Media and Communications

Associate Member

Centre for Gender Studies


Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law (CIMEL)


London Middle East Institute (LMEI)


Centre for Palestine Studies (CPS)


Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies


Centre for Human Rights Law


Professor Lynn Welchman
Email address:
+44 (0)20 7898 4672
Senate House
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
Wednesdays 10:00 - 12:00
On Sabbatical:
Term 1


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.


Term 2: Wednesdays 9:30 - 11:30

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

LOGISTICS: 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.


Programmes Convened
Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • 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
  • Bulama Bukarti, An Assessment of Boko Haram's War from Islamic Law of War Perspective
  • Erhan Kucuk, Asylum Seeking and Responsibility of States in Refugee Law: The Case of Turkish Asylum System
  • Haje Keli, An analysis of the gender-based violence in Iraqi Kurdistan – state, society and family violence [working title]
  • Malik Kenewa, The Islamic Sacred Months as a contemporary peace agreement
  • Moataz El Fegiery,
  • Noora Al-Saai, Working title: Nationality and International, Mixed, and Minority Marriages in Qatar and select GCC Jurisdictions: A Sociolegal and Comparative Analysis
  • Riccardo Labianco, Public International Law and the Responsibility of Arms-Exporting States
  • Roopa Madhav, Beyond Judicial Veto: Public Trust Doctrine, Administrative Decision Making and Implementation of Mining Related Laws
  • 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
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Prof Lynn Welchman's Inaugural Lecture: Human Rights and the Middle East - A Thousand and One Stories Starting with Palestine


For help in contacting SOAS academics and advice on services to business and the community, please contact SOAS Enterprise on +44(0)20 7898 4837 or email
For all press and media enquiries please call +44 (0)20 7898 4135 or email

Available for
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Press
  • Briefings
  • Special Study Programmes
  • Short Term Consultancy
  • Long Term Consultancy
Regional Expertise
  • Near and Middle East
Country Expertise


Authored Books

Welchman, Lynn (2021) Al-Haq: A Global History of the First Palestinian Human Rights Organization. Oakland, California: University of California Press.

Welchman, Lynn (2007) Women and Muslim Family Laws in Arab States. A Comparative Overview of Textual Development and Advocacy. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Welchman, Lynn (2000) Beyond the Code: Muslim Family Law and the Shari'a Judiciary in the Palestinian West Bank. The Hague: Kluwer Law International.

Welchman, Lynn (1999) Islamic Family Law: Text and Practice in Palestine. Women's Centre for Legal Aid.


Welchman, Lynn and Zambelli, Elena and Salih, Ruba (2021) 'Rethinking justice beyond human rights. Anti-colonialism and intersectionality in the politics of the Palestinian Youth Movement'. Mediterranean Politics, (26) 3, pp 349-369.

Salih, Ruba and Zambelli, Elena and Welchman, Lynn (2021) '‘From Standing Rock to Palestine We are United’: diaspora politics, decolonisation and the intersectionality of struggles'. Ethnic and Racial Studies, (44) 7, pp 1135-1153.

Hammoudeh, Doaa and Hamayel, Layaly and Welchman, Lynn (2016) 'Beyond the Physicality of Space: East Jerusalem, Kufr ‘Aqab, and the Politics of Everyday Suffering'. The Jerusalem Quarterly, (65), pp 35-60.

Welchman, Lynn (2011) 'Muslim Family Laws and Women's Consent to Marriarge: does the law mean what it says'. SocialDifferenceOnline. Journal of the Center for the Critical Analysis of Social Difference at Columbia University, (1), pp 63-79.

Welchman, Lynn (2011) 'A Husband's Authority: Emerging Formulations in Muslim Family Laws'. International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, (25) 1, pp 1-23.

Welchman, Lynn (2009) 'The Bedouin Judge, the Mufti, and the Chief Islamic Justice: Competing Legal Regimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories'. Journal of Palestine Studies, (38) 2, pp 6-23.

Welchman, Lynn (2007) 'Honour and Violence Against Women in a Modern Shar`i Discourse'. Hawwa Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World, (5) 2-3, pp 139-165.

Welchman, Lynn (2004) 'Egypt: new deal on divorce'. The International Survey of Family Law, pp 123-142.

Welchman, Lynn (2004) 'Muslim World Journal of Human Rights'. Muslim World Journal of Human Rights, (1) 1.

Welchman, Lynn (2004) 'The Role of International Law and Human Rights in Peacemaking and Crafting Durable Solutions for Refugees: Comparative Comment'. Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, (9) 2002-2003, pp 88-109.

Welchman, Lynn (2003) 'In the Interim: Civil Society, the shar'i Judiciary and Palestinian Personal Status Law in the Transitional Period'. Islamic Law and Society, (10) 1, pp 34-69.

Welchman, Lynn (2001) 'Summary Report: CIMEL/INTERIGHTS Roundtable on Crimes of Honour'. Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, (vol. 6), pp 439-461.

Welchman, Lynn (2001) 'Jordan: Capacity, Consent and Under-age Marriage in Muslim Family Law'. The International Survey of Family Law, (2001 E), pp 243-265.

Welchman, Lynn (2000) 'Palestine: Pre-State Positioning on Family Law'. International Survey of Family Law, pp 289-307.

Edited Books or Journals

Hossain, Sara and Welchman, Lynn, (eds.), (2014) Remedies for Forced Marriage: A Handbook for Lawyers. (Online). London: Interights.

Baderin, Mashood and Monshipouri, Mahmood and Mokhtari, Shadi and Welchman, Lynn, (eds.), (2006) Islam and Human Rights: Advocacy for Social Change in Local Contexts. New Delhi: Global Media Publications.

Welchman, Lynn and Hossain, Sara, (eds.), (2005) Honour: Crimes, Paradigms and Violence against Women. London: Zed Books.

Welchman, Lynn, (ed.), (2004) Women's Rights and Islamic Family Law: perspectives on reform. Zed Press.

Book Chapters

Welchman, Lynn (2018) 'A Historiography of Islamic Family Law'. In: Emon, Anver M. and Ahmed, Rumee, (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp 885-932.

Welchman, Lynn (2018) 'The International Human Rights Clinic at SOAS'. In: Alemanno, Alberto and Khadar, Lamin, (eds.), Reinventing Legal Education: How Clinical Education is Reforming the Teaching and Practice of Law in Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 247-271.

Welchman, Lynn (2016) 'Human rights, law and politics: a reflection on human rights work in the Middle East and North Africa'. In: Chase, Anthony Tirado, (ed.), Routledge Handbook on Human Rights and the Middle East and North Africa. Abingdon; New York: Routledge, pp 502-511.

Welchman, Lynn (2015) 'Qiwamah and Wilayah as Legal Postulates in Muslim Family Laws'. In: Mir-Hosseini, Ziba and al-Sharmani, Mulki and Rumminger, Jana, (eds.), Men in Charge? Rethinking Authority in Muslim Legal Tradition. London: Oneworld, pp 132-162.

Welchman, Lynn (2014) 'Foreword'. In: Gill, Aisha and Strange, Carolyn and Roberts, Karl, (eds.), 'Honour' Killing and Violence: Theory, Policy and Practice. Houndsmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp ix-xv.

Welchman, Lynn (2012) 'Rocks, hard places and human rights: anti-terrorism law and policy in Arab states'. In: Ramraj, Victor V. and Hor, Michael and Roach, Kent and Williams, George, (eds.), Global Anti-Terrorism Law and Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 621-654.

Welchman, Lynn (2012) 'Gulf Women and the Codification of Muslim Family Law'. In: El-Azhary Sonbol, Amira, (ed.), Gulf Women. London: Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation, pp 367-406.

Welchman, Lynn (2010) 'Bahrain, Qatar, UAE: First time Family Law Codifications in Three Gulf States'. In: Atkin, Bill, (ed.), International Survey of Family Law 2010 edition. Bristol: Jordan, pp 163-178.

Welchman, Lynn (2010) 'Women, Family and the Law. The Muslim personal status law debate in Arab states'. In: Hefner, Robert W., (ed.), New Cambridge History of Islam, Vol.6. Cambridge: CUP, pp 411-437.

Welchman, Lynn (2009) 'Family, Gender and Law in Jordan and Palestine'. In: Cuno, Kenneth M. and Desai, Manisha, (eds.), Family, Gender, and Law in a Globalizing Middle East and South Asia. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University press, pp 126-144.

Welchman, Lynn (2005) 'Rocks, Hard Places and Human Rights: Anti-Terrorism Law and Policy in Arab States'. In: Ramraj, Victor V. and Hor, Michael and Roach, Kent, (eds.), Global Anti-Terrorism Law and Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 581-608.

Welchman, Lynn and Hossain, Sara (2005) 'Introduction: 'Honour', Rights and Wrongs'. In: Welchman, Lynn and Hossain, Sara, (eds.), 'Honour': Crimes, Paradigms, and Violence against Women. London: Zed Books, pp 1-21.

Welchman, Lynn (2005) 'Human Rights: Overview'. In: Joseph, Suad, (ed.), Encyclopaedia of Women and Islamic Cultures Vol. II: Family, law and politics. Leiden: Brill, pp 265-268.

Welchman, Lynn (2005) 'Developments on 'crimes of honour' in Jordan'. In: Welchman, Lynn and Hossain, Sara, (eds.), 'Honour': Crimes, Paradigms and Violence against Women. London: Zed Books, pp 199-208.

Welchman, Lynn (2005) 'Criminal Law: Overview'. In: Joseph, Suad, (ed.), Encyclopaedia of Women and Islamic Cultures Vol. II: Family, law and politics. Leiden: Brill, Netherlands, pp 388-402.

Welchman, Lynn (2002) 'Islamic Law: Stuck with the State?'. In: Huxley, Andrew, (ed.), Religion, Law and Tradition. London: Routledge, pp 61-83.

Welchman, Lynn (2000) 'The Middle East Peace Process and the Rule of Law: Irreconcilable Objectives?'. In: Cotran, Eugene and Yamani, Mai, (eds.), The Rule of Law in the Middle East and the Islamic World. London: IB Tauris, pp 51-65,.

Monographs and Working Papers

Salih, Ruba and Welchman, Lynn and Zambelli, Elena (2017) The Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM): transnational politics, inter/national frameworks and intersectional alliances. Rome: IAI Power2Youth Papers.

Conference Items

Welchman, Lynn (2005) 'How does change happen?'.

Welchman, Lynn (2005) 'Reframing Islam: Politics into Law' In: Reframing Islam: Politics into Law Conference, Galway. [Unpublished]


This list was last generated on Saturday, 2nd July 2022, 09:08 Europe/London.