Professor Maleiha Malik
Professor of Law
Date started at King’s
Challenges and achievements
When and what was responsible for you becoming interested in your academic discipline?
I became interested in law and society as an undergraduate law student. I was very fortunate to have been taught by a generation of law academics who had developed innovative methods for understanding law in context.
What are your research interests, and what drew you to this area?
My main research is on UK, European and comparative discrimination law. I am drawn to this area of law because it involves an emerging body of legal doctrine that is being developed by UK as well as EU courts. I was also drawn to this area of research because it allows me to think about how law relates to rapid social change in areas such as migration or gender relations. As a result of these law interests, I also do research on feminist theory and multiculturalism.
Tell us about a couple of your achievements that have been particularly rewarding.
I have found it rewarding to have developed discrimination law as a distinct area of legal research. I am also proud of the fact that in collaboration with my colleague Professor Robert Wintemute I have developed one of the first undergraduate law courses in UK and EU Discrimination Law that has been used as a model throughout the UK and Europe. In terms of policy, I have ensured that King’s College London is a focus for seminars to discuss how UK discrimination law can be strengthened. These policy seminars had a major influence on improving and strengthening the UK Equality Act 2010.
Do you have professional role models? Who are they and what do you find inspiring about them and their accomplishments?
My professional role models include women law academics who supported me when I was a law lecturer. They were inspiring because they provided me with a living example on how to devote myself to an area of research that I found exciting and important. They also taught me the crucial importance of fellowship, generosity and making time for colleagues, students and public life.These women were role model on how to focus on scholarly research whilst also maintaining a strong commitment to our students and the wider community.
What if any support has most benefited you in your career?
My colleagues at King’s College have provided me with unconditional and consistent support. In addition, I have benefited from the London Women Law Academics Network which is a fellowship of women law scholars who have supported me with fellowship and support for nearly twenty years.
What do you feel is the most enjoyable/rewarding aspect of your job at King’s?
My academic research and seeing students fulfill their intellectual and personal potential is the most rewarding part of the job. I have also enjoyed working with colleagues from other disciplines, such as Humanities or Medicine, as part of a wider community of scholars.
How do you balance the various demands of a career in academia: research, teaching/learning, administration?
It is important to do all three aspects of our work within the University. There is a virtuous circle between these different aspects of our work rather than assuming a conflict or tension. Balance is always a challenge and the focus of research, teaching and administration varies at different stages in a long career.
How do you balance an academic career with life outside the workplace?
It is essential to remember the Aristotelian advice that ‘the scholar is also a human being’. The best scholars are also those who have the widest human experiences. So, it is important for academics but also students to balance scholarly work on law with other interests and activities. I ensure that I make time at weekend for my family and close friends. Working in the heart of London makes it easier to balance my academic work with my interests in theatre, arts and culture.
What have you learnt from your experiences that you would like to share with others?
It is assumed that academic life provides an area of escape. In fact, the best scholars and teachers are those who remain engaged with the society in which they live. To quote Virginia Woolf, a former King’s College graduate, “you cannot find peace by avoiding life.”