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Professor Rohan Kariyawasam

Faculty of Business and Law
Economics, Finance and Law
Areas of Expertise:
Law , Business law , Commercial law , Information and communications technology , IT law , Intellectual property law , Regulation, regulatory data, compliance , Research methodology
Research Supervision:

Rohan Kariyawasam is a Professor of Law. He worked in industry for several years (Marconi, Unilever, McGraw-Hill) before qualifying as a solicitor with DentonWildeSapte, and further commercial law practice with Field Fisher Waterhouse and Clifford Chance.

[email protected]


Before joining ARU, Rohan was Professor of Law and the Digital Economy at Middlesex University, professor of law at Cardiff University and the University of Essex, a member of the Essex Human Rights Centre and Director of their Program in Information Technology, Media and E-Commerce Law.

He has worked as a consultant for both the media and communications department at Clifford Chance, the media law department at Field Fisher Waterhouse, and as an external consultant to the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), Cable & Wireless, and the UK's Office of Telecommunications (now OFCOM).

Rohan qualified as a solicitor with DentonWildeSapte but before this, he trained as an engineer and worked with Marconi on contracts for the Ministry of Defence.

As a student, Rohan attended Harvard Law School as a Berkman Centre Fellow, the University of Kent at Canterbury, the University of Geneva, Switzerland, the College of Law in London, and the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary University of London – where he obtained his PhD in commercial and IP law. He is a past recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to Harvard University.

In 2011-13, the British Academy awarded Rohan a fellowship to research market competition, net neutrality and privacy on the internet. In 2015, In partnership with Peking University Law School and Xi’an Jiaotong University Law School, Rohan as Principal Investigator, led a project funded by the AHRC Newton Fund, Nottingham University and Ningbo Province (China) focusing on the regulation of fair use provisions in digital copyright, orphan works and works of folklore in the network environment from the perspective of cultural rights in China. Suggested legislative amendments to the Chinese Copyright Act were sent to the Chinese State Council.

Rohan was also appointed as member of the World Economic Forum/ICST E-15 Digital Economy Expert Group where he completed research on the digital economy provisions in a range of bilateral and free trade agreements (2015-2018). His research on the digital economy formed the basis of an impact case study on Influencing policy development across the international digital divide for the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF2021).

Rohan's work involves the intersection of technology, IP, information law and the humanities. He has also been both a Principal and Co-Investigator on a range of projects for the ESRC (project finance), AHRC (fair trade, special needs and disability rights), and in commercial research in Europe and Asia for McGraw-Hill.

Currently, he is developing research on the Open Society, access to justice, digital inclusion and AI in the UK courts.

Research interests
  • Development law
  • Digital economy, Open Society and the knowledge economy
  • International economic law (particularly WTO law)
  • IP law
  • Special needs law
  • Technology law
Areas of research supervision
  • Digital economy
  • Internet law
  • IP law
  • Competition law
  • Communications law
  • International development
  • The Open Society
  • International trade and world trade law
  • BSc, University of Kent
  • MA, Birkbeck College, University of London
  • PhD Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary, University of London
  • Fulbright Certificate, Harvard University
  • LPC, College of Law
  • Solicitor (Law Society, UK)
Memberships, editorial boards
  • Law Society
  • Board Advisor, Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities
  • Trustee, The Rahula Trust
  • Fulbright Scholars Association
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Arts
Selected recent publications

Kariyawasam R., 2021. Bridging the Digital Divide through the right mix of competition policy and intellectual property. In: Taubman, A., Anderson. R., De Carvalho, N. P., WTO (Eds.), 2021. Competition Policy and Intellectual Property Rights in an Interdependent World Economy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

Kariyawasam R., 2018. Multilateralising telecommunications: A step change in need of a step? World Economic Forum/International Centre for Trade & Sustainable Development/Regional Trade Exchange.

Kariyawasam R., 2015. New WTO Trade Rules for Bits & Bytes. World Economic Forum/International Centre for Trade & Sustainable Development.

Kariyawasam, R. (Ed.), 2012. Chinese Intellectual Property and Technology Laws (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar).

Kariyawasam, R., 2012. Better regulation of digital markets: A new look at the Reference Paper. In: Cottier, T., Burri, M. (Eds.), 2012. Trade Governance in the Digital Age (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

Kariyawasam, R., 2012. Labelling Challenges in Fair Trade: A need for harmonisation? In: Dine, J., Granville, B. (Eds), 2012. The Processes and Practices of Fair Trade: Trust, ethics and governance (London: Routledge).

Kariyawasam, R., 2012. Reparations: The Universal Periodic Review and the Right To Development. In: Packer, J., Brennan, F. (Eds.), 2012. Colonialism, Slavery, Reparations and Trade: Remedying the Past? (London: Routledge).

Kariyawasam, R. (Ed.), 2009. The WTO, Intellectual Property, E-Commerce and the Internet (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar).