The Consultative Committee

Werner Menski

Werner Menski, MA PhD is Professor Emeritus of South Asian Laws in the School of Law at SOAS, University of London. He is specialised in both Muslim and Hindu law, especially in the issues of personal status and family affairs, in migration, and in the relations between law, religion and culture. He has also published widely on comparative research on legal systems in Asia and Africa.

He obtained an interdisciplinary MA from the University of Kiel in Germany in 1977 and then taught South Asian Studies at Bochum University in 1977-1980 before relocating to London, where he obtained his PhD in Hindu Law in 1984. At SOAS, he has taught South Asian Laws, Comparative Legal Theory, Ethnic Minorities and the Law, and Family Law since 1981 and has been Professor of South Asian Laws since 2004.

Werner Menski has published over 200 articles since 1980 and his major books are: Islamic Family Law (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 3rd ed. 1998, with David Pearl); Modern Indian Family Law (Richmond: Curzon Press, 2001); Hindu Law. Beyond Tradition and Modernity (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003); Comparative Law in a Global Context: The Legal Systems of Asia and Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed. 2006). He has been the editor of South Asia Research (New Delhi: SAGE) since 2004 and is a member of numerous editorial advisory boards. A Visiting Professor at several South Asian universities, he also maintains close links with universities in Japan and continental Europe.

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Ralf Michaels

Ralf Michaels is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg, Germany, Chair in Global Law at Queen Mary University in London, and Professor of Law at Hamburg University. Until 2019 he was the Arthur Larson Professor at Duke University School of Law; he has also been a visiting professor at the Universities of Paris II Panthéon-Assas, Princeton, Pennsylvania, Toronto, and Tel Aviv, as well as the London School of Economics. Michaels holds an LL.M. from Cambridge University and a PhD in Law from Passau University. He is a widely published scholar of private international law, comparative law, and legal theory; his current research focuses on decolonial comparative law, regulatory conflicts, and theoretical foundations of private international law and global legal plurality. Michaels is a member of the Academia Europaea, the American Law Institute, the International Association of Comparative Law, and the Comparative Law Associations of the United States, Germany, and France.

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Dominik Müller

Dominik Müller is Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), where his Chair is developing a new long-term research initiative on the ethnographic study of changing legal technologies in global legal cultures. Part of this research initiative is a project group called "LawTech Ethnographies“ which has begun its work in 2022. He is also co-director of the DFG Center for Advanced Studies "Alternative Rationalities and Esoteric Practices from a Global Perspective“, spokesperson of the anthropologically oriented Bavarian Elite Graduate Program "Standards of Decision-Making Across Cultures“ (SDAC)  and has headed the DFG Emmy Noether project "The Bureaucratization of Islam and its Socio-Legal Dimensions in Southeast Asia“. He has conducted ethnographic research on various themes related to micro-level negotiations of normative change in Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Singapore. He obtained his PhD degree in Anthropology at the Cluster of Excellence "Formation of Normative Orders“ at Goethe-University Frankfurt, where he previously had studied Anthropology, Law and Philosophy. His Emmy Noether research group was based at the MPI for Social Anthropology from 2016 until 2019, and he held visiting positions at Harvard Law School, NUS Singapore’s Center for Asian Legal Studies, Stanford University, the University of Oxford and the University of Brunei Darussalam prior to his appointment at FAU.

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David Nelken


David Nelken is Professor of Comparative & Transnational Law in Context, and Head of Research of The Dickson Poon School of Law at King’s College London. From 1995 to 2013 he was Distinguished Research Professor of Law at Cardiff University, and since 2010 he has been the Visiting Professor of Criminology at Oxford University.

Nelken writes mainly about Social Theory and Law (e.g. Beyond Law in Context, Ashgate, 2009); Comparative Legal Culture (e.g. Comparing Legal Cultures, Dartmouth, 1996, Adapting Legal Cultures, Hart, 2000, and Using Legal Culture, Wildy, Simmonds and Hill, 2012); and Comparative and Transnational Criminology (e.g. Comparative Criminal Justice: Making Sense of Difference, Sage, 2010, and Comparative Criminal Justice and Globalization, Ashgate, 2011).

He received a Distinguished Scholar award from the American Sociological Association in 1985, and the 'Sellin-Glueck' career award in 2009 from the American Society of Criminology. In 2009 he was made an Academician of the UK Academy of the Social Sciences, and in 2011 was awarded the 'Adam Podgórecki' career prize by the International Sociological Association (RCSL).

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Alison Dundes Renteln

Alison Dundes Renteln is a Professor of Political Science, Anthropology, Law, and Public Policy at the University of Southern California where she teaches Law and Public Policy with an emphasis on comparative and international law. A graduate of Harvard (History and Literature), she has a Ph.D. in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from the University of California, Berkeley and a J.D. from the USC Gould School of Law.  Her publications include The Cultural Defense (Oxford, 2004), Folk Law (University of Wisconsin, 1995), Multicultural Jurisprudence (Hart, 2009), and Cultural Law (Cambridge, 2010), and Global Bioethics and Human Rights (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014) and numerous articles. She has taught judges, lawyers, court interpreters, jury consultants, and police officers at meetings of the American Bar Association, National Association of Women Judges, North American South Asian Bar Association, and the American Society of Trial Consultants.  Renteln has also collaborated with the UN on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, lectured on comparative legal ethics in Bangkok and Manila at ABA-sponsored conferences, and served on California civil rights commissions and a California committee of Human Rights Watch.  In Fall 2013 she was a Fellow at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences where she conducted research on incentives for civic engagement including the legal duty to rescue.  In Spring 2014 she was a Human Rights Fellow at the School of Advanced Study at the University of London.  She gathered data on the use of images in human rights and humanitarian campaigns.  Her current research is at the intersection between sociolegal studies and sensory studies.

Professor Renteln is working with colleagues at USC to set up a Human Rights Center to sponsor collaborative research, bring speakers (human rights defenders, UN officials, and government officials) to campus and give students internship experiences abroad.

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Mathias Rohe

Mathias Rohe has studied law and Islamic sciences in Tübingen and Damaskus. After having finished his master in Islamic sciences, his PhD and his habilitation in law at Tübingen University, he was appointed full professor (chair for Private Law, Private International law and Comparative Law) at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. He is also member of the German Islamkonferenz run by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and member of the board of trustees of the Near and Far East Association (NUMOV) and of several inter-religious organisations. He has given several hundreds of lectures on issues relating to Islam and the law in Europe at universities and other scientific institutions from Harvard to Tokyo. He has given many expert opinions to German parliaments and policy advice to several governments.

In December 2011, Prof. Rohe was appointed as Special Delegate of the University President to coordinate the Academic Advisory Board of the recently established Department for Islamic/Religious Studies at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nuremberg, one of four similar departments in Germany which have been established in 2011 with the support of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

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