Dr Sara Hourani is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Middlesex University London. She also holds a Visiting Lectureship at the School of Law, Aix-Marseille University (France). Sara teaches International Commercial Arbitration and Litigation, and Commercial Law.
Her research focuses on the interface between international commercial arbitration and new technologies, which spans digital dispute resolution and ODR.
Sara has a particular interest in blockchain and smart contract arbitration and dispute resolution. Her work on the topic includes an analysis of the new emerging procedural designs brought about by decentralisation and automation, and the implications of these on access to justice and due process amongst other issues. She has presented this work at numerous conferences and seminars organised by institutions such as the UNCITRAL, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the American Bar Association (ABA), the British Blockchain Association (BBA) and the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (NCTDR). Sara has also published this work in various forms, including a co-edited book titled ‘Access to Justice in Arbitration: Concept, Context and Practice’ published by Wolters Kluwer in 2020. She has received two awards for this work; one by the ICC YAF for the 2019 innovative paper idea on smart contract arbitration, and another by the BBA for best abstract and presentation at the ISC 2022.
Sara has provided consultancies on the topic of technology and arbitration and/or dispute resolution to various organisations including the UNCITRAL, Lawtech UK, the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce, the UK Ministry of Justice and the UK Law Commission. Her research has had impact on policy and society as her work was for example cited in the Law Commission’s report on Smart Legal Contracts, she was interviewed and cited in an article by the Resolver (CIARB Magazine), and she was also recently involved in the Ministry of Justice’s policy project on the increase of mediation in civil proceedings. Sara sits as a MENA sub-committee member of the Greener Arbitrations Campaign (https://www.greenerarbitrations.com/), where her work consists of working on an analysis of the digitalisation of international arbitration.
Sara received an LLB degree from Grenoble II University (France), an LLM in International Trade Law and a PhD in Law from the University of Essex (UK). She was granted the prestigious UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) PhD scholarship to pursue her doctoral studies and has been the recipient of different grants and awards to carry out her research since. Sara was notably a John W Kluge Scholar at the Library of Congress in Washington DC which was funded by the AHRC to carry out research in international commercial law. Before joining Middlesex, Sara previously held a Lectureship in Law at the Law Department and CIPPM at Bournemouth University, and also taught at the University of Essex and the University of East Anglia.
LLB, LLM, PhD, PGCert
Arabic, English, French and Romanian.
LAW2915 English and International Commercial Law
LEX4706 English Commercial Law
LEX4720 International Commercial Litigation and Arbitration
Advanced Mooting-Willem C Vis International Commercial Arbitration
Conference Papers and Seminar Presentations:
Hourani, Sara (2019) The legal reality of the recognition and enforcement of cross-border blockchain-based arbitral awards: beyond futuristic idealism [Blog post]. Off the Chain blog.
Hourani, Sara (2018) Towards a fairer trading system for micro and small businesses post-Brexit? Comparative aspects with other common law systems. In: The Future of the Commercial Contract in Scholarship and Law Reform: European and Comparative Perspectives. Heidemann, Maren and Lee, Joseph , eds. Springer, pp. 309-339. ISBN 9783319959689
Farah, Youseph and Hourani, Sara (2018) Recasting West Tankers in the deep water: how Gazprom and recast Brussels I reconcile Brussels I with international arbitration. Journal of Private International Law , 14 (1). pp. 96-129. ISSN 1744-1048
Hourani, Sara (2017) Cross-border smart contracts: boosting international digital trade through trust and adequate remedies. In: UNCITRAL Congress on ‘Modernizing International Trade Law to Support Innovation and Sustainable Development, 04-07 July 2017, Vienna.
Hourani, Sara (2017) Online Dispute Resolution pour les litiges B2B : prêt pour le monde des affaires. Newsletter N°14 de la Chambre Arbitrale Internationale de Paris.
Reports and Contributions to Policy Making:
Membership of Professional Bodies and Learned Societies:
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