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Dr Prakash A Shah, LLB (LSE) LLM (LSE) PhD (SOAS)

Prakash A

Reader in Culture and Law

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 3971
Room Number: Mile End


Dr Prakash Shah specialises in legal pluralism, religion and law, ethnic minorities and diasporas in law, immigration, refugee and nationality law, and comparative law with special reference to South Asia. He has published widely and lectured internationally in these fields (download Dr Shah's CV [PDF 168KB]). Dr Shah was Lecturer at SOAS, University of London from 1993, and Lecturer at the University of Kent at Canterbury from August 2000. He joined Queen Mary, University of London in 2002, where he is now a Reader in Culture and Law. Dr Shah is also Director of GLOCUL: The Centre for Culture and Law at Queen Mary.

Undergraduate Teaching

  • Comparative Law: Asian and African Legal Systems

  • Cultural Diversity and Law

Postgraduate Teaching



Download Dr Shah's CV [PDF 168KB] for a full list of his publications.


Edited and authored books

Articles and book chapters

  • ‘A weak defence of an indefensible caste law: A reply to David Keane’. In: (March 2016) Vol. 16 No. 1 International Journal of Discrimination and the Law, pp. 55–58.
  • ‘“An ancient system of caste”: How the British law against caste depends on Orientalism’. In: (2015) Vol. 17 Theatrum Historiae, pp. 119-141
  • ‘Does Durkheim enhance our understanding of law and religion?’ In: Queen Mary, University of London, School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series
  • ‘Sacerdotal violence and the caste system: The long shadow of Christian-orientalism’. In: No. 41, Summer 2015, The Journal of Contemporary Thought (Special Issue on Critical Humanities), pp. 137-164
  • Britain’s Dharmic communities and the General Election 2015. Dharmic Ideas and Policy Foundation, September 2015.
  • ‘The difference that religion makes: Transplanting legal ideas from the West to Japan and India’. In: (2015) Vol. 10, Issue 1, Asian Journal of Comparative Law, pp. 81-97
  • ‘Legal responses to religious diversity (or to cultural diversity)?’ In: Silvio Ferrari (ed.): Routledge Handbook of Law and Religion. London: Routledge, 2015, pp. 119-132
  • ‘Toleration: Opportunities and strains of a historic European Ideal’. In: No. 56 Synergy, Magazine of the European Law Students Association (ELSA), pp. 20-22
  • 'Distorting minority laws? Religious diversity and European legal systems'. In: Prakash Shah with Marie-Claire Foblets and Mathias Rohe (eds.): Family, religion and law: Cultural encounters in Europe. Farnham: Ashgate, 2014 [Cultural Diversity and Law series in Association with RELIGARE], pp. 1-27
  • ‘Cultural difference as epistemic difference: A review of two books by S.N. Balagangadhara’ (review article of, “The Heathen in His Blindness…”: Asia, the West and the Dynamic of Religion and Reconceptualizing India Studies, by S.N. Balagangadhara), in Manushi at:
  • ‘Critiquing the Western account of India studies within a comparative science of cultures’ (review article of, “The Heathen in His Blindness…”: Asia, the West and the Dynamic of Religion and Reconceptualizing India Studies, by S.N. Balagangadhara). In: (2014) Vol. 18, No. 1 International Journal of Hindu Studies
  • ‘Shari‘a in the West: Colonial consciousness in a context of normative competition’. In: Elisa Giunchi (ed.): Islamic family law in the courts: experiences from Europe, Australia and North America. London: Routledge, 2014, pp. 14-31
  • ‘The moral basis of anti-caste legislation’. In: Public Spirit (posted 25/09/2013)
  • ‘Asking about reasonable accommodation in England’. In: (June-September 2013) Vol. 13, Nos. 2-3 International Journal of Discrimination and the Law, pp. 83-112
  • ‘In pursuit of the pagans: Muslim law in the English context’. In: (2013) Vol. 45, No. 1 Journal of Legal Pluralism, pp. 58-75
  • ‘Transnational family relations in migration contexts: British variations on European themes’. In: Satvinder Juss (ed.): The Ashgate research companion to migration law, theory and policy. Farnham: Ashgate, 2013, pp. 599-616
  • ‘Judging Muslims’. In: Robin Griffith-Jones (ed.): Islam and English Law: Rights, responsibilities and the role of Sharia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013, pp. 139-151
  • ‘Shadow boxing with community practices: A response to Eekelaar’. In: Mavis Maclean and John Eekelaar (eds.), Managing family justice in diverse societies. Oxford: Hart, 2013, pp. 49-60
  • ‘The legal adaptation of British settlers in Turkey’. In: Transcultural Studies (2012, with Derya Bayir)
  • ‘Reasons to ban? The anti-burqa movement in western Europe’. MMG Working Paper 12-09.Göttingen: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity<> (with Ralph Grillo)
  • ‘Considerazione conclusive. Il movimento anti-‘burqa’ in Europa occidentale’. In: (2012) Anno XX, 1, Quaderni di Diritto e PoliticaEcclesiastica, pp. 219-240 (with Ralph Grillo)
  • ‘In pursuit of the pagans: Muslim law in the English context’. RELIGARE Working Paper No. 9, March 2012, (14 pp)
  • ‘Workshop report: Introduction of “cultural expertise” in English courts’. In Issue 86 [Summer 2011] Amicus Curiae: Journal of the Society for Advanced Legal Studies, pp. 13-14
  • ‘Transnational family relations in migration contexts: British variations on European themes’. RELIGARE Working Paper No. 7, March 2011. <>
  • ‘When South Asians marry trans-jurisdictionally: Some reflections on immigration cases by an ‘expert’’. In: Livia Holden (ed.): Cultural expertise and litigation: Patterns, conflicts, narratives. London: Routledge, 2011, pp. 35-52
  • ‘Comparatively Indian: Living with legal plurality’. In: (2010) Vol. 109, Issue No. 3 Zeitschrift für vergleichende Rechtswissenschaft (ZVglRWiss, Journal for Comparative Law), pp. 314-326
  • ‘A reflection on the Shari’a debate in Britain’. In: (2010) Vol. 13 Studia z Prawa Wyznaniowego (Studies of Ecclesiastical Law), pp. 71-98.
  • ‘Ethnic and religious diversity in Britain: Where are we going?’ In: Geraldine Healy, Gill Kirton and Mike Noon (eds.): Equality, inequalities and diversity: From global to local. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2010, pp. 77-92
  • 'Trans-jurisdictional marriage and family reunification for refugees in the United Kingdom'. In: [June 2010] Vol. 9, No. 2 İstanbulKültürÜniversitesiHukukFakültesiDergisi, pp. 93-113 (for SSRN version see
  • ‘The Indian dimension of An-Na’im’s Islam and the secular state’. In: Marie-Claire Foblets and Jean-Yves Carlier (eds.): Islam and Europe: Crises are challenges. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2010, pp. 153-166
  • ‘Inconvenient marriages, or what happens when ethnic minorities marry trans-jurisdictionally according to their self-chosen norms’. In: (2010) Volume 6, Issue 2, June 2010 Utrecht Law Review [Special on Human Rights Law as a Site of Struggle over Multicultural Conflicts - Comparative and Multidisciplinary Perspectives]
  • ‘Between God and the Sultana? Legal pluralism in the British Muslim diaspora’. In: Jørgen S. Nielsen and Lisbet Christoffersen (eds.): Shari’a as Discourse: Legal Traditions and the Encounter with Europe. Farnham: Ashgate, 2010, pp. 117-139.

PhD Supervision

Dr Shah welcomes proposals for postgraduate supervision legal pluralism, religion and law, ethnic minorities and diasporas in law, and comparative law, particularly concerning the non-Western world. Proposals that fit within the concerns of GLOCUL: The Centre for Culture and Law are especially welcomed.

Current and past doctoral students

  • Esin Calsikan: Recognition of Alevis in London and Ankara, currently 3rd year
  • Sarah Singer: Terrorism and Exclusion from Refugee Status in the UK, passed 2014
  • Latif Tas: Legal Pluralism and Dispute Resolution among Kurds in London, passed February 2013
  • Erica Howard: The EU Race Directive, passed April 2007
  • Ivan Leonidov: Comparative and International Legal Study on the Position of Irregular Migrants in the United Kingdom, Russia and South Africa, passed June 2005.

Public Engagement

Dr Shah has extensive public engagement in the British and international media.  His media contributions include La Vie (France), Focus (Germany), Weekend Avisen (Denmark, 17-22 Dec. 2008), Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung; BBC Radio 4’s; Radio 4’s Law in Action, Today, and 'Beyond Belief' and Sunday programmes; BBC World TV; BBC World Service; Asian Voice, Confluence and, BBC Asian network and Channel 4’s Dispatches; SBS World News (Australia), Congressional Quarterly Global Researcher. During the last four years he has participated extensively in the media on the debate concerning the UK’s caste discrimination law.


  • ‘Does the emergence of freedom of religion in a Christian theological context make impossible its use as a human rights idea?’, invited plenary lecture at the The 4th Conference of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies, Freedom of / for / from / within religion: Differing Dimensions of a Common Right? St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, 8-10 September 2016
  • ‘On culture’, invited lecture for the conference on “The cultural defence. In honor of the work of Alison Dundes Renteln”, University of Cagliari, 7-8 July 2016
  • ‘Constitutional Protection of and from Religion-based Personal Laws in the United Kingdom: The Case of Hindus and the Caste law’, invited lecture for the International Workshop on Religious Pluralism, Legal Monism and Personal Law Regimes: Comparing Experiences and Trends, University of Trento, 29-30 April 2016
  • Lecture on ‘Sacerdotal violence and the caste system: The long shadow of Christian-Orientalism’ at the International Seminar on the Enigma of Law held at the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad (in collaboration with Balvant Parekh Centre for General Semantics and Other Human Sciences, Baroda), 2-4 November 2015. The paper is now published in a Special Issue (No. 41, Summer 2015) on Critical Humanities of the Journal of Contemporary Thought
  • Paper titled ‘Does Durkheim enhance our understanding of law and religion?’ at the conference on The Sacred and the Law: The Durkheimian Legacy, Käte Hamburger Centre for Advanced Study “Law as Culture”, Bonn, 27-28 October 2015
  • Presentation on ‘The epistemic strength of Orientalism: The case of caste debates in the United Kingdom’, at the International Association for the History of Religions Congress, Erfurt, Germany, 28 August 2015
  • Lecture titled ‘Catch me if you can! Muslim translocal legal pluralism’ at the International Workshop on Legal Pluralism in Europe and the Ordre Public Exception: Normative and Judicial Perspectives, University of Trento, 16-17 April 2015. [The video of the lecture appears from 44 mins 55 sec into the video]
  • Invited give a lecture at the ‘Vichar Manthan’ event in Leicester on the ‘Hindu Vote’ to an audience of Indian voters in anticipation of the General Election 2015, together with prospective parliamentary candidates, 11 April 2015
  • Cultural Encounters Seminar on “Citizenship, caste and equality in Britain”, Roskilde University, Denmark, 20 March 2015
  • Lecture on “The difference that religion makes: Transplanting legal ideas from the West to Japan and India”, OP Jindal Global University, India, 26 February 2015
  • Organiser of the conference on Caste: Critiquing Colonial and Contemporary Constructions, Oshwal Centre, Potters Bar, 5 April 2014
  • Lecture and Q&A on the Caste Legislation in the UK organised by the City Hindus Network, held at Queen Mary University of London, 27 March 2014 [see also written Q&A]
  • Lecture on “Two theories of religion and Indian traditions in the Western legal systems", Centre for Asian Legal Studies, National University of Singapore, 12 March 2014
  • Discussant for the workshop, Teaching Legal Anthropology: aims and constraints in a changing academic climate in Europe at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, 27-28 November 2013.


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