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Sapna is a PhD candidate at the Dickson Poon School of Law.  Her research focuses on the role of international development actors in promoting the rule of law in transitional states. Sapna spent six months in East Timor for her fieldwork. Her thesis is a step towards understanding the rule of law through a socio-legal lens. Sapna’s research aims to bring the importance of social forces and its influence on the law and legal actors, thus contextualising its significance on the study of law especially non-western societies.

She has presented parts of her research in the Law and Development Research Network Annual Conference 2018; Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference 2019; and Society of Legal Scholars Conference in 2019.

Sapna has completed her LLM in Law, Development and Governance (Distinction) from SOAS, University of London. She was awarded the Best Performing Student 2014-15 for the specialism. Sapna completed her B.A./LLB ( Hons.) from NALSAR University of Law, India.

Sapna is also a Teaching fellow in Law of Torts at University College London.

Research Interests

Sapna’s interests are in the field of socio-legal studies, comparative law, law and development, public law, international human rights law and tort law. Currently her research interests focus on methodological gaps in conducting socio-legal research in non-western nations.


Tort Law

Selected Publications 

Sapna Reheem Shaila and Debapratim Ray, ‘Multilateral Environmental Agreements and WTO Policies Affecting Global Commons’, in Protection and Promotion of Environment (NUJS 2010) , ISBN 978-93-313-178-4

Sapna Reheem Shaila, ‘Obviousness in Biotechnology and Chemical Patents: A Post KSR Analysis’ published in (2011) Vol. 4 Indian Journal for Intellectual Property Law 50.

Sapna Reheem Shaila, ‘Case Study on Kudumbasree: Political Empowerment of Women and Sustainable Poverty Reduction Mechanism,' published in (2013) Vol. 8(1) International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability

Sapna Reheem Shaila, ‘Shifting Legal Borderlands ? Brazilian Legal Technical Assistance to East Timor’, in Brazilian Journal of Institutional Studies (Revista de Estudos Institucionais) Issue 2. Vol. 5 

Blog posts

Sapna Reheem Shaila, ‘The rule of law or rule of politics? Narratives from Timor-Leste on tip-toeing the “law”’, STRIFE, 5 October 2018, available at