Dr Sahar Maranlou

School of Law
Dr Sahar Maranlou
  • Email

  • Location

    4SB.4.11, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    Mondays 15:30- 16:30, Tuesdays 14:00 -15:00



Sahar Maranlou joined Essex Law School in September 2017. She is a socio- legal academic, specialising in access to justice, legal empowerment and public legal culture. Sahars research interests also focus on gender, Islamic Law and law and society in the Middle East (Iran in particular). She conducted the first study of womens perceptions of law in Iran (her doctoral study). This was published as her first monograph Access to Justice in Iran: Women, Perceptions, and Reality (Cambridge University Press, 2015) that looks at access to justice, gender and legal empowerment in Iran.She has taken a particular interest in qualitative legal research and especially ethnographic understanding of law in plural legal systems. Her next research will be about injustice and legal culture from a socio- legal perspective, which will lead to the publication of her second monograph. Before coming to Essex, Sahar was the Sassakawa Peace Foundation Post Doctoral Fellow working on legal empowerment in Iran and Turkey at the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, University of Oxford. Prior to that, she was a visiting lecture at University of Brunel, Warwick University. Sahar, a British and Iranian national, started working as columnist after graduating with a law degree. She has worked on law reform of Iranian NGOs and as a civil society activist; Sahar has co-funded several NGOs such as Iranian NGOs Training Center, Participatory Watch. She has worked with UN agencies such as UNDP, UNICEF on national empowerment projects and facilitated many participatory workshops on gender, human rights, law and development especially in Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Sahar holds an MA in Human Rights from Central European University in Budapest, where she was selected to be one of the ten young human rights activists to be awarded a two year-long fellowship from Justice Initiative. Her academic teaching started at the Mofid Law School, Iran, where she developed curriculum for a new module about access to justice with focus on clinical legal education and consequently co-founded the first national university based clinic in 2006. Since then, she has helped several Iranian law schools to establish their clinical legal education program. She holds a PhD in Law from Warwick University.She has written on law, justice, empowerment and gender, Islamic Law and is a regular contributor to the debate on Iranian legal system in national newspapers Sahar has worked on projects and presented her work in more than 50 countries. She enjoys photography and poetry in her free time.


  • LLB , Islamic Azad University, 1995

  • MA, Central European University , 2005

  • PhD, University of Warwick, 2012

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice, Warwick, 2011

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Socio -Legal Studies

Access to Justice

Public Legal Culture

Gender and Law

Islamic Law

Legal Empowerment

Iranian Law and Legal System

Conferences and presentations

February 2017, Islamic Family Law in Contemporary Iran, an invited talk presented at University of Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan, 2017

February 2017, Empowerment in Practice: What People Know About the Law?, an invited talk presented at Central European University, Budapest , Hungary .

Budapest, Hungary, 2017

October 2016, Improving Access to Justice Through Social Media, presented at the 4th European of Clinical Legal Education (ENCLE) Conference, Valencia, Spain?

Valencia, Spain, 2016

September 2016, Beyond Theories; Doing Research in the Middle East, presented at the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, Commission on the Middle East, Krakow, Poland

Krakow, Poland, 2016

November 2015, Religion; A Path to Legal Empowerment or A Barrier? presented at the Middle East Studies Associations (MESA), Denver, USA.

Denver, United States, 2015

October 2015, Perceptions and Legal Justice, presented at the Sassakawa Peace Foundation, Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan, 2015

September 2015, How to Measure Legal Empowerment? presented at the Conference of Commission on the Middle East of the IUAES (International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences), Krakow, Poland.

Krakow, Poland, 2015

July 2015, Justice Education and Legal Empowerment in Turkey presented at the GAJE (Global Alliance for Justice Education) 9th International Conference, Istanbul, Turkey.

Istanbul, Turkey, 2015

July 2015, Iran and the West, Legal Perspective, presented at the Iran and the West: Converging Perspectives conference, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.

Coventry, United Kingdom, 2015

June 2015, Legal Empowerment, Gender and Right to Property in Plural Iran, presentation for a joint panel Gender and property rights in the MENA at the BRISMES / EURAMES Joint Annual Conference, UCL, London, UK.

London, United Kingdom, 2015

March 2015, Women Access to Justice in Iran, invited talk at the School of Sociology, the Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.

Stockholm, Sweden, 2015

March 2015, Public Perceptions and Access to Justice, invited talk at the Max Planck Institute, Hamburg, Germany.

Hamburg, Germany, 2015

March 2015, Women Perceptions of Access to Justice, invited talk at Womens Rights Research Seminar at the Middle East Center of St. Antonys College, Oxford, UK. ?

Oxford, United Kingdom, 2015

June 2014, Gender Justice, invited talk at the Women Association of History Researchers, Tehran, Iran.

Tehran, Iran, Islamic Republic of, 2014

December 2013, Justice Education in the Middle East, presented at the 7th worldwide conference of the Global Alliance for Justice Education, Delhi, India.

Delhi, India, 2013

January 2013, What Women Think About Legal System in Iran?, invited talk to the London Middle East Institutes Lecture Programme on the Contemporary Middle East, SOAS, University of London . London, UK.

London, United Kingdom, 2013

July 2012, Non- Western Perspectives on Access to Justice, presented at the Not Just Law conference, Warwick Law School, Warwick, UK.

Coventry, United Kingdom, 2012

November 2011, Access to Justice from Islamic Perspectives, presented at the Beyond Apology and Utopia workshop titled Towards Just Societies in the Middle East, University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada.

Windsor, Canada, 2011

September 2009, Islamic Conceptions of Access to Justice, presented at the international conference titled Re-Imagining the Shari'a: Theory, Practice and Muslim Pluralism at Play, Warwick Law School and the Centre for European Islamic Thought, Faculty of Theology, University of Copenhagen, Venice, Italy.


December 2008, Legal Citizenship Building, presented at the 5th worldwide conference of the Global Alliance for Justice Education, Manila, Philippines.


Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Introduction to comparative law (LW205)

  • Final Year Research Project (LW304)

  • Introduction to Islamic Law (LW359)

  • Gender and Law (LW362)


Books (1)

Maranlou, S., (2014). Access to justice in Iran: Women, perceptions, and reality. Cambridge University Press. 1107072603. 9781139680493

Book chapters (2)

Maranlou, S., Traditional Family Law in Modern Iran. In: Family Law and Gender in the Modern Middle East. Editors: Kassim, H. and Wing, A., . Cambridge University Press

Maranlou, S., (2016). Modernisation Prospects for Legal Education in Iran. In: Experimental Legal Education in a Globalized World The Middle East and Beyond. Editors: Qafisheh, MM. and Rosenbaum, SA., . Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 144- 150. 9781443895446



4SB.4.11, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

Mondays 15:30- 16:30, Tuesdays 14:00 -15:00