SOAS University of London

School of Law

Dr Jonathan Ercanbrack

(BA) Utah, (Vordiplom) Heidelberg, (MSc) LSE, (PhD) SOAS
  • Teaching
  • Publications


Jonathan Ercanbrack
School of Law

PhD Examiners Approval Panel - Member

Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law (CIMEL)

Chair, Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law

London Middle East Institute (LMEI)


Dr Jonathan Ercanbrack
Email address:
+44 (0)20 7898 4095
Senate House
Office No:
‚Äč S230
Academic Support Hours:
Wednesday 15:30 - 17:30


Dr Jonathan Ercanbrack, Lecturer in Transnational Financial Law

I have worked as a university lecturer since September 2011 at SOAS, University of London. In 2012, I completed a PhD in law at SOAS in which I sketched the development of a transnational system of financial law, focusing primarily on the facilitation, regulation and adjudication of Islamic finance in the United Kingdom. At SOAS, I have developed an international reputation as a leading researcher in the field of Islamic financial law (IFL), the financial laws of Arab Gulf States and transnational financial law. Islamic financial law can be understood as a transnational system of financial law, comprising multiple legal orders including sharia (Islamic law) and the municipal legal systems in which Islamic finance is facilitated, regulated and adjudicated. IFL is the law used to structure Islamic financial transactions in over 70 municipal legal systems worldwide. While possessing legal characteristics similar to those of jurisdictions or national legal systems, IFL cannot be understood solely according to the standards of such systems as its sources are not limited to those of traditional lawmaking. IFL encompasses diverse sources of law, regulatory standards, commercial practices, institutional transplants, fatwas and ideas, whether these are borrowed from nation states or from non-state actors including multinational financial institutions, international standard setting bodies, international law firms or sharia scholars. I have written widely about the transnational characteristics of IFL, focusing on the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, the Dubai International Financial Centre, Bahrain and Malaysia. My most recent book, The Transformation of Islamic Law in Global Financial Markets (Cambridge University Press 2015) dealt with these ideas, highlighting the ways in which ancient transactions are transformed and used in the modern world. The book has been widely praised, most recently in the highly ranked Modern Law Review.

My current research examines the ways in which fintech (financial technologies) is and can be regulated so that its inclusive and sustainable benefits are realised while addressing its risks and preventing financial crises. The project aims to influence the regulation and development of fintech in the United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia and Qatar.  

Furthermore, I chair the Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law (CIMEL) at SOAS, which enables me to engage with Islamic and Middle Eastern law across a wide range of legal issues. For example, in concert with the Qatar Financial Centre I host one of the Islamic finance industry’s most prestigious annual brainstorming workshop in which leading sharia scholars, bankers, lawyers, regulators and academics come together to discuss the most pressing issues facing the industry.

I have served the English court as an expert witness in three cases involving hawala money transfer systems and money laundering claims. The most recent case is Regina v Jignasha.

I also hold an MSc degree from the London School of Economics where I specialised in the political economy of the Middle East; a Vordiplom in economics from the University of Heidelberg (Germany); and a Bachelor of Arts in German from the University of Utah (USA). Furthermore, I studied Arabic at the Bourgiba Institute of Modern Languages (Tunisia) and possess an advanced-intermediate knowledge of Modern Standard Arabic.

Prior to academia I worked for the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (Washington, D.C.) and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea (Washington, D.C.). Together with two co-founders, in 2014, I founded Naewa, a private equity advisor focusing on SME business development in North and Sub-Saharan Africa.



Authored Books

Ercanbrack, Jonathan G (2015) The Transformation of Islamic Law in Global Financial Markets. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Ercanbrack, Jonathan G. (2020) 'The Standardization of Islamic Financial Law: Lawmaking in Modern Financial Markets'. American Journal of Comparative Law. [Forthcoming]

Ercanbrack, Jonathan (2019) 'Islamic Financial Law and the Law of the United Arab Emirates: Disjuncture and the Necessity for Reform'. Arab Law Quarterly, (33) 2, pp 152-178.

Ercanbrack, Jonathan (2011) 'The Regulation of Islamic Finance in the United Kingdom'. Ecclesiastical Law Journal, (13) 1, pp 69-77.

Book Chapters

Ercanbrack, Jonathan (2012) 'Regulating Islamic Finance in the United Kingdom'. In: Cattelan, Valentino, (ed.), Islamic Finance in Europe: Towards a Plural Financial System. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, pp 157-178.

Monographs and Working Papers

Ercanbrack, Jonathan G. (2019) Challenging the Sharia Compliance of Islamic Finance. Doha, Qatar: Qatar Financial Centre.

Ercanbrack, Jonathan G. (2019) Challenges of Retaining Shari'ah Compliance in Islamic Finance. Doha, Qatar: Qatar Financial Centre.

Book Reviews

Ercanbrack, Jonathan (2013) 'Islamic Finance: Law and Practice'. Journal of Business Law, (5).

Opinion Pieces / Media / Blogs

Ercanbrack, Jonathan and Bahra, Narita (2019) Hawala Money Transfer Systems: Debunking the Presumption of Illegitimacy.


This list was last generated on Tuesday, 18th February 2020, 14:11 Europe/London.