Dr Sara Hourani


Dr Sara Hourani
NameDr Sara Hourani
Job titleSenior Lecturer in Law
Research institute
Primary appointmentLaw and Social Sciences
Email addressS.Hourani@mdx.ac.uk
ORCIDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-6348-1014
Contact categoryResearcher

Biography

Biography

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 reports on the reform of the English Arbitration Act 1996 and on Smart Legal Contracts, she was interviewed and cited in an article by the Resolver (CIARB Magazine), she has been invited to attend and contribute to an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain Technologies Blockchain Industry Roundtable and she was also recently involved in the Ministry of Justice’s policy project on the increase of mediation in civil proceedings which resulted in a report that recognised her contribution. 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.

Teaching

LAW2915 English and International Commercial Law

LEX4706 English Commercial Law

LEX4720 International Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Education and qualifications

Grants

Prizes and Awards

Evidence to public body

Final report and bill on the review of the Arbitration Act 1996
Law Commission
Response to consultation on ‘Increasing the use of mediation in the civil justice system’
UK Ministry of Justice
Justice’s Call for Evidence on Dispute Resolution in England and Wales
UK Ministry of Justice
Report on Smart Legal Contracts
Law Commission
The Resolver
CIARB
Call for evidence on the Digital Dispute Resolution Rules
The UK Jurisdiction Taskforce (UKJT) of Lawtech UK
Submitted evidence to the working group on blockchain arbitration
The Silicon Valley Arbitration and Mediation Center

Research outputs

The invocation of the precautionary principle within the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism: not seizing the occasion

Masumy, N. and Hourani, S. 2024. The invocation of the precautionary principle within the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism: not seizing the occasion. Laws. 13 (2). https://doi.org/10.3390/laws13020022

An introduction to blockchain-based dispute resolution: the emergence of new procedural designs

Hourani, S. 2024. An introduction to blockchain-based dispute resolution: the emergence of new procedural designs. BCDR International Arbitration Review .

The implementation of sustainable development as a requirement by ICSID tribunals: a proposal for a sustainability standard

Masumy, N. and Hourani, S. 2022. The implementation of sustainable development as a requirement by ICSID tribunals: a proposal for a sustainability standard. Romanian Arbitration Journal. 16 (1), pp. 44-69.

Mind the gap? A critical analysis of the recognition and enforcement of cross-border consumer ODR outcomes in the EU

Hourani, S. 2022. Mind the gap? A critical analysis of the recognition and enforcement of cross-border consumer ODR outcomes in the EU. Revista Ítalo-Española de Derecho Procesal. 2022 (1), p. 73–95. https://doi.org/10.37417/rivitsproc/681

The launch of the campaign for greener arbitrations MENA sub-committee: moving towards more sustainable practices in the region

Hourani, S. and Masumy, N. 2021. The launch of the campaign for greener arbitrations MENA sub-committee: moving towards more sustainable practices in the region. The MENA Business Law Review . 2021 (3).

The resolution of B2B disputes in blockchain-based arbitration: a solution for improving the parties’ right of access to justice in the digital age?

Hourani, S. 2020. The resolution of B2B disputes in blockchain-based arbitration: a solution for improving the parties’ right of access to justice in the digital age? in: de Oliveira, L. and Hourani, S. (ed.) Access to Justice in Arbitration: Concept, Context and Practice Wolters Kluwer.

Access to Justice in Arbitration: Concept, Context and Practice

de Oliveira, L. and Hourani, S. (ed.) 2020. Access to Justice in Arbitration: Concept, Context and Practice. Wolters Kluwer.

Keeping up with access to justice in arbitration? A critical analysis

Hourani, S. and Valladares, L. 2020. Keeping up with access to justice in arbitration? A critical analysis. Arbitrate.com.

Access to justice and blockchain-based arbitration: new platforms could be a useful tool for resolving commercial disputes

Hourani, S. 2020. Access to justice and blockchain-based arbitration: new platforms could be a useful tool for resolving commercial disputes. American Bar Association.

The legal reality of the recognition and enforcement of cross-border blockchain-based arbitral awards: beyond futuristic idealism [Blog post]

Hourani, S. 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.

Towards a fairer trading system for micro and small businesses post-Brexit? Comparative aspects with other common law systems

Hourani, S. 2018. Towards a fairer trading system for micro and small businesses post-Brexit? Comparative aspects with other common law systems. in: Heidemann, M. and Lee, J. (ed.) The Future of the Commercial Contract in Scholarship and Law Reform: European and Comparative Perspectives Springer. pp. 309-339

Recasting West Tankers in the deep water: how Gazprom and recast Brussels I reconcile Brussels I with international arbitration

Farah, Y. and Hourani, S. 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. https://doi.org/10.1080/17441048.2018.1437333

Cross-border smart contracts: boosting international digital trade through trust and adequate remedies

Hourani, S. 2017. Cross-border smart contracts: boosting international digital trade through trust and adequate remedies. UNCITRAL Congress on ‘Modernizing International Trade Law to Support Innovation and Sustainable Development. Vienna 04 - 07 Jul 2017 United Nations. pp. 118-119

Online Dispute Resolution pour les litiges B2B : prêt pour le monde des affaires

Hourani, S. 2017. Online Dispute Resolution pour les litiges B2B : prêt pour le monde des affaires. Newsletter N°14 de la Chambre Arbitrale Internationale de Paris.

Frustrated at the interface between court litigation and arbitration? Don’t blame it on Brussels I! Finding reason in the decision of West Tankers, and the recast Brussels I

Farah, Y. and Hourani, S. 2015. Frustrated at the interface between court litigation and arbitration? Don’t blame it on Brussels I! Finding reason in the decision of West Tankers, and the recast Brussels I. in: Stone, P. and Farah, Y. (ed.) Research Handbook on EU Private International Law Edward Elgar Publishing. pp. 116-151
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