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Rajnaara C Akhtar

Assistant Professor in Law, University of Warwick

Rajnaara is a socio-legal researcher with a focus on family law. In particular, her research centres on marriage formalities and legal treatment of non-legally binding religious-only marriages. Her research into such marriages looks at transitional relationship norms, normative influences, legal consequences and autonomy. She has conducted extensive empirical fieldwork in this area in the UK, Qatar and Australia. Her work draws on a range of socio-legal theories and approaches.
She is currently working on two grant funded research projects. The first, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, investigates why marriage ceremonies occur outside of the legal framework for weddings in England and Wales. The second, funded by the Doha International Family Institute, explores the experiences of women in Qatar engaging with the law and legal infrastructure relating to marriage and divorce.
Other areas of interest include international child law and gender and human rights law.


  • 2021–present
    Assistant Professor, University of Warwick
  • 2016–2021
    Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, De Montfort University
  • 2009–2016
    PhD Candidate, Post-Doc, University of Warwick

Grants and Contracts

  • 2020
    When is a wedding not a marriage? Exploring non-legally binding ceremonies
    Primary Investigator
    Funding Source:
    Nuffield Foundation