Professor Sylvia Wairimu Kang’ara
LLB, LLM, SJD
Advocate of the High Court of Kenya
Associate, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
Dean & Associate Professor of Law
Riara Law School
Prof. Kang’ara’s academic interests are in the domestic and international laws of investment and development as well as in comparative private law and theory. She has published several articles, most recently a book chapter titled “China and Africa: Infrastructure Development and Colonial Legacies of Property Law”, published in Bandung, Global History, and International Law: Critical Pasts and Pending Futures, Cambridge University Press, 2017. In this article, she argues that conceptual and institutional biases of colonial legal regimes regarding African ownership of property are at play in recent compulsory acquisitions of land for infrastructure development. In 2012, she published “Beyond Bed and Bread: Making the African State through Marriage Law Reform – Constitutive and Transformative Influences of Anglo-American Legal Thought,” in the Hastings Journal of Law & Poverty. In this article, Professor Kang’ara uncovers the juridical template produced by years of marriage law reform in Africa. She discusses the compromises that African countries have made to produce a pragmatic regime that simultaneously adopts new thinking about marriage while observing “African” value choices and customary law prescriptions. She concludes that this history shows that the laws governing family and property are as constitutive of the family as they are of the developmentalist state and are therefore also tools of governance.
Prof. Kang’ara is a graduate of the University of Nairobi and Harvard Law School. In the course of her doctoral studies at Harvard, she received awards from the Association of American University Women, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and the Institute for the Study of World Politics. She is admitted to the Roll of Advocates in Kenya and is also an Associate of the Charted Institute of Arbitrators. In 2016, the Attorney General appointed her to the Governing Council of the National Crime Research Centre, a state corporation.