Law and Religion Research Group

The members of the Law and Religion Research Group are engaged in research which explores: 

  • The complex interaction between law and religion in the context of constitutional law and private law (from a comparative perspective) and public international law;
  • The religious rights discourse within the context of domestic and international law;
  • The cultural impact of religious and philosophical paradigms on the shape and scope of domestic and international legal frameworks dealing with religion. 
  • The normative development and enforcement strategies in the complex and multi-vectored area of law and religion· 

The Group provides a forum for discussion, advice and support for staff and students, including our doctoral students. It also organises conferences, research seminars and workshops aiming to promote knowledge-sharing between academics and practitioners in the following areas of law:

Canon Law, Ecclesiastical Law, Islamic Law and Islamic Finance, Jewish Law, International Law, Religion and the State, Employment Law, Civil Law, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Legal History, Legal Theory

The Group operates in two distinct subfields, namely, law and religion as this is understood in Western legal thinking, namely the constitutional separation of law and religion, as well as the status of religion in international law (including international human rights law), and Islamic law. In both areas the School possesses recognised global experts.


  • The director of this Group is the editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion. This is the leading journal in the field globally and published by Oxford University Press.
  • Brunel Law School publishes the Journal of Islamic State Practices in International Law (JISPIL), which is the only journal in its area of expertise. Three members of staff at Brunel are on the editorial board and editors-in-chief.
  • Dr Shahid is working on a Max Planck Institute-funded project on Islamic child and family law

International Activity

  • The School has participated in at least 2 amicus briefs submitted by a leading group of scholars in law and religion-related litigation in the USA. The briefs were submitted to the US Supreme Court and the Brunel name and the Centre featured prominently there. Dr Petkoff and Professor Bantekas participated in this effort.
  • The Group organised several conferences in the past two years and in 2014 two can particularly stand out. The first was on Islamic family law, whereas the other concerned Islamic international law in historical perspective.
  • The Group  hosted the International Law Association’s Islamic law group in 2011 and is the focal point for that group within the ILA

Relation to teaching and PhD research

  • The Law Schools runs two courses on Islamic law at LLM level currently, both of which are highly attended by students
  • The Law School, given its reputation in Islamic law, receives a large amount of applications from prospective candidates wishing to work within Islamic law. A number have recently graduated and have gone on to assume academic or other posts in their countries of origin in prestigious institutions.

Scholarly Output

Members of the Group, namely Dr Petkoff, Dr Shahid, Professors Rehman, Ssenyonjo and Bantekas have published widely in this area, both in the form of journal articles/book chapters as well as monographs. This output is significant and articles/book chapters are well over 40-50.

Call for Papers Journal of Islamic State Practice in International Law(JISPIL)

The Journal of Islamic State Practice in International Law (JISPIL) is pleased to announce a Call for Papers for its June 2015 edition. JISPIL is a peer reviewed electronic journal (available at:

International Working Group on Child Law, Max Planck Institute of Comparative and Private International Law

Dr Ayesha Shahid has been appointed as National Co-ordinator for Pakistan to write a country report on "Incorporating 'Best Interest of the Child Principle' in Custody and Guardianship Cases", for the Max Planck Institute's International Working Group on Child Law project.

Brunel Launches a Law and Religion event for the UK Mission in the UN in NY

Dr Peter Petkoff convened an event with the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief at the UN Headquarters in New York during the UN General Assembly. The event was hosted by the UK Mission in the UN and was chaired by Ambassador Peter Wilson CMG.

Website of the IG of the History of International Law of the European Society of International Law is launched

At the European Society of International Law tenth anniversary conference, the Society announced the creation of a new interest group on the history of international law. Those interested in becoming members should contact Ignacio de la Rasilla and Randall Lesaffer. The interest group's website is here:

First World War Centenary - Dr de la Rasilla's revisits the foundation of the American Society of International Law in a special journal issue

The Ambivalent Shadow of the Pre-Wilsonian Rise of International Law is forthcoming in special issue on “The Great War and Law - The Lasting Effects of World War I on the Development of Law” 7 Erasmus Law Review 2 (2014):

Page last updated: Tuesday 09 June 2015