Federica Sona is a Senior Researcher in the Law & Anthropology Department at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale (Germany). Before joining the MPI, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Laboratory of Fundamental Rights, a research centre directed by Vladimiro Zagrebelsky, a former judge at the European Court of Human Rights. Prior to that, she was a Visiting Researcher in the Law Department at the University of Turin (Italy) and a Teaching Fellow in the Law Faculty of the School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London (UK).
Federica’s academic qualifications include a Laurea in ‘Law’ (Turin), a post-graduate Specialization Course in “Intercultural Communication and Mediation” (Turin), a Master of Arts in ‘International and Comparative Legal Studies’ (London), an International Ph.D. in ‘Law and Society’ (Milan in consortium with Higher Education Institutes in Belgium, Italy, Spain and Sweden), and a second Ph.D. in ‘Law’ (London).
Her main areas of expertise encompass official and unofficial Islamic and Muslim laws; national and international family laws; comparison and interactions between transnational, international and national legal systems (in Western and Muslim-majority countries); Western Islām-s and European Muslim communities; cultural understanding and customary implementation of religious provisions; sharīʿah-compliant socio-legal cultures and normative orders.
Federica’s current research focuses on European Muslim communities interacting with different socio-legal orders, including Common Law and Civil Law systems. Her work pays specific attention to family-related issues encompassing both vertical and horizontal kinship connections.
Federica is involved as convenor, lecturer and expert in the European Judicial Training Network and has lectured at the University of London, the Max Planck Institute, the University of Milan, the University of Turin, the University of Oriental Piedmont, the University of Siena, the University of Lucerne, and the Center of Transnational Law Studies. Her research findings have been disseminated through lectures delivered in several universities in Europe, North Africa, North America, and South Asia.
Federica conducted researches commissioned by the National Council for Research in Italy and the Ministry of Justice in the UK. In 2009, she was appointed the researcher responsible for the Greater London area for the enquiry ‘A study of Sharia Councils in Relation to Family Law Matters in England and Wales’.
For the last seventeen years, she has also served as an expert and advocate providing legal assistance and advice (predominantly pro-bono and shadow) in proceedings involving Muslim parties and/or Muslim-majority countries’ nationals in Italy and in Great Britain.