Sara Hourani

Sara is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the School of Law, Middlesex University London. She also holds a Visiting Lectureship at the School of Law, Aix-Marseille University (France).

Her research examines the impact of automation introduced through new technologies, such as blockchain, smart contracts and artificial intelligence, on international commercial arbitration systems. Her work on the topic analyses the implications of such automation 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 dispute resolution to various organisations including the UNCITRAL, the UK Parliament, the UK Ministry of Justice and the UK Law Commission. Her contribution was cited in the Law Commission’s reports on the reform of the English Arbitration Act 1996 and on Smart Legal Contracts, and the Ministry of Justice’s policy project reports on the increase of mediation in civil proceedings. Sara has also contributed to several roundtables held by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain Technologies. Sara sits as a MENA sub-committee member of the Greener Arbitrations Campaign (, 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.