Professor Dr Martin Lau

Professor Martin Lau specialises in the field of Islamic finance and South Asian law in his Counsel practice.  In his arbitration practice, Martin sits as sole, presiding and co-arbitrator with experience under ad-hoc, LCIA, DIFC-LCIA and UNCITRAL rules, including Pakistan, Dubai, Qatar, Turkey and UK seated arbitrations.  Martin’s professional experience includes appointments as Legal Officer to the Claims Resolution Tribunal for Dormant Accounts in Switzerland and as Legal Assistant to Prof Martin Hunter at the NAFTA Arbitral Panel in Mexico -v- US. He has provided expert reports on Islamic and South Asian law in over 200 cases. Martin frequently carries out consultancies and international fact-finding missions, for example to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Iran.

Martin is also a Professor of Law at SOAS University of London, where he has lectured since 1990. He has held visiting academic appointments at Harvard Law School and Nagoya University and is the Editor-in-Chief of Brill’s Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law.

Nationality:   German

Languages:    English and German (bilingual); Arabic, Urdu & French (intermediate)


1997-present  Tenant, Essex Court Chambers, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London

2012-present   Professor of Law, School of Law, SOAS, University of London

2016-2018      Dean & Professor of Law, School of Law, LUMS, Lahore/Pakistan

2004-2012      Reader in Law, School of Law, SOAS

2007-2008      Special Advisor and Team Leader of the European Commission Justice Sector Reform Programme, Kabul, Afghanistan

2006-2007      Visiting Scholar, Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School (2006-2007)

2005-2006      Visiting Scholar, Centre for Asian Legal Exchange, University of Nagoya (October 2005 – February 2006)

1992-2004      Lecturer in Law, Department of Law, SOAS

1990-1992      Training Fellow in South Asian Law, Department of Law, SOAS

Recent Arbitrations and Expert Opinions

  • Islamic finance/Murabaha Agreement (DIFC/LCIA)
  • Employment dispute (UK/Saudi Arabia) (LCIA)
  • Investment dispute (Qatar) (LCIA)
  • Contractual dispute (Afghanistan) (PCA Ad Hoc)
  • Oil/gas contracts (UAE) (LCIA)
  • Media/broadcasting dispute (Pakistan) (LCIA)
  • Somalia Justice Sector Reform Strategy DFID (Mogadishu 2013)
  • Kabul International Donor Conference EU (Kabul (2010)
  • Justice Sector Support Project EU (Kabul 2007-2008)


Academic Director of:

  • Lord Chancellor’s Chinese Judges Training Programme (1997-2010)
  • Dubai International Financial Centre Court Judges’ Training Programme (2007-2009)
  • Qatar International Financial Centre Court Judges’ Training Programme (2009-2012)
  • Young Chinese Lawyers’ Professional Training Course (2008-2010)