Dr Surabhi Shukla

School of Law


Deputy Director of Employability and Enrichment Activities (Legal Tech)

Staff photo of Surabhi Shukla
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Full contact details

Dr Surabhi Shukla
School of Law
Bartolomé House
Winter Street
S3 7ND

Surabhi works on law and sexuality with a focus on India. She is interested in exploring the social afterlife of legal judgments and the lived experiences of legal institutions. Her work has recently been cited in the Indian Supreme Court’s judicial training manual on LGBTQIA+ issues for magistrates, judges, and judicial staff. For the last six years she has been blogging on SOGI cases in Indian courts, providing quick and crisp summaries of the latest adventures of law in queer life: www.lawandsexuality.com

Surabhi likes to explore artistic ways of demonstrating her research so that it reaches the intended audience. In 2014 she conducted a year-long study on the experiences of gender non-conforming students in Indian schools through a IASSCS Emerging Scholars’ Fellowship. With the aid of animation, short stories, model school policies, and a customised website, she has made the findings and further resources available for parents, teachers, and school students so that bullying can come to an end. This project has since won the Jack Collins Social Action Bursary of the Oriel College Oxford which helped her conduct school visits in her hometown to discuss her findings. The website can be found here: https://genderdiversityinschools.com/

At Sheffield, she has launched the Lectures on Gender and Sexuality in the winter of 2023 with the aim of informing public debate through research. The series invites contemporary scholars working on questions of sexuality and gender to Sheffield to share their latest research on cutting-edge topics with the staff, students, and the members of the public at large. More information on the series is here.

She also has a sustained interest in traditional constitutional law in which she completed her doctorate. Her doctoral dissertation looked at the prevalence of religious and cultural claims at the frontiers of fundamental rights—same-sex marriage, euthanasia, surrogacy, sex-work and so on. In short, those human rights cases which are not right to religion cases but somehow always attract passionate religious and cultural contestations. The thesis examines these arguments, studies their attributes, and asks to what extent is it constitutionally legitimate for courts to take them into consideration when arriving at a decision. This work is currently being revised for publication. Correspondence for discussions, including access to the thesis, is very welcome.

She is committed to working with queer communities and in that regard has had the opportunity to work with the ACLU, The Williams Institute, and The Centre for Justice, Law and Society (CJLS) at the Jindal University in India. Before coming to the UK in 2016, she was an Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of the CJLS at Jindal and worked at the Indian Supreme Court and Jagori, the latter one of the oldest women’s rights NGOs in India. Before coming over to Sheffield, she was a lecturer at the Manchester Metropolitan University between 2021 and 2022 and taught as a Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS from 2021-2023.

She invites robust research proposals for PhD supervisions in any of the areas mentioned above.

  • University of Oxford (DPhil 2022)
  • University of California Los Angeles (LL.M. 2012)
  • National Law School of India University (B.A.LL.B. Hons 2011)
Research interests
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity laws,
  • Constitutional law, especially the interaction of religion, culture and constitutional rights in secular democracies

Journal articles

  • Shukla S (2020) The L World: Legal Discourses on Queer Women. NUJS Law Review, 13(3), 1-25. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Shukla S (2019) The Many Faces of Dignity in Navtej Johar. European Human Rights Law Review, 2, 195-195. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Shukla S (2018) United Nations and HIV/AIDS: The Comic Book Experiment. European Human Rights Law Review, 4, 336-336. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Jain D, Pillai G, Shukla S & Jos J (2018) Bureaucratization of Gender Non- Conforming and Transgender Rights: Perspective from the Ground. Socio-Legal Review, 14(1), 98-143. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Shukla S (2016) Why the Clarification Petition Submitted by the Government of India in the Transgender Case is Incorrect in Law and in Bad Faith on the Question of Reservation. William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice, 22(3), 585-585. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Jain D, Rhoten K & Shukla S (2014) Legally Invisible. SEMINAR, 653-653. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Shukla S (2011) Headscarf Debates, Asking the Woman Question. Gender Human Rights & Law, 186-186. RIS download Bibtex download


  • Shukla S (2020) Transgender Persons in Indian Courtrooms In Davy Z, Santos AC, Bertone C, Thoreson R & Wieringa SE (Ed.), Sage Handbook of Global Sexualities (pp. 705-7238). London: SAGE. RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

Ongoing PhD Supervision

Second supervisor for Hussain Bari, Rule of Law in Bangladesh (with Dr Mark Brown as primary supervisor)


Title/Description: Shortlisted for the British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship for the project titled, 'The Paradox of Law and Freedom for Queer Women in the Modern Liberal State'

  • Awarding Body: British Academy
  • People involved: Surabhi Shukla
  • Years Funded for: 2021
  • Amount: £388, 269

Title/Description: Comparative Constitutional Law Book Workshop

  • Awarding Body: University of New South Wales, Sydney (Australia)
  • People involved: Professor Rosalind Dixon
  • Years Funded for: Summer 2022
  • Amount: $3000 (AUD)

Title/Description: Laureate Visiting Fellowship in Comparative Constitutional Law

  • Awarding Body: University of Melbourne, Australia
  • People involved: Professor Adrienne Stone
  • Years Funded for: November 2018
  • Amount: $3000 (AUD)

Teaching activities

Undergraduate teaching

  • Law of Obligations 
  • Public Law in the UK and the EU 

Postgraduate teaching

  • Secularism: Human Rights, Religion and the State
Professional activities and memberships
  • Reviewer for the International Journal of Constitutional Law
  • Reviewer for the Indian Law Review
  • Recipient of the International Fellowship for Emerging Scholars to Conduct Original Research in 2014 from IASSCS to study the school experiences of gender non-conforming students in Indian schools (($5000)
  • Recipient of the Donald Snow Award for commitment to civil rights of LGBT Persons in 2012 by the Gay and Lesbian Lawyers Association of Los Angeles

Training and Expertise Offered

  • Stakeholders’ discussion on sexual orientation and gender identity (Commonwealth Secretariat UK 2019)
  • Police officer Training on Juvenile Justice Act (Delhi Legal Services Authority New Delhi 2014)
  • UGC Law Faculty Training on integrating gender in legal pedagogy (University Grants Commission India 2014)

Professional Memberships 

  • Society of Legal Scholars
  • Socio-Legal Studies Association
  • Admitted to the New York Bar
  • Admitted to the Jharkhand Bar in India

Select Speaking Engagements 

  • Privacy Works from Home: Rethinking Privacy Through Lived Experiences of Queer Women and Trans Men (Critical Legal Conference at the University of Durham 2023)
  • Queering Private Law Workshop on exploring possibilities for queering the normative assumptions in private law (University College London 2023)
  • Decolonial Approaches to Transnational Queer Work (Oriel College Oxford 2022 with Philip Baldwin)
  • An Account of the LGBT Rights Struggle in India (SOAS 2022 and 2023) 
  • The Right to Gender Recognition of Transgender Persons: Law and Practice in India and the Nordic Countries (with Dr Daniela Alaattinoglu) (University of Oxford 2020)
  • LGBT Rights in the Commonwealth: Constitutional Challenges to Colonial Laws (Middle Temple Inn London 2019)
  • The Role of International Law in Recent SOGI Developments in India (Grotius Summer School on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law at Leiden University 2019)
  • Transgender Persons in Indian Courtrooms: Legal Rights Transformed or Status Quo Maintained? (University of Melbourne 2018) 
  • Constitutional Manoeuvres in the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Cases in India (Leiden University 2018)
  • Panelist to discuss issues regarding the inclusion of transgender persons in educational institutions and to give input to the Anti-Discrimination Policy the university (NUJS India 2016)
  • New Genders, Ancient Histories (UCLA 2015)
  • Symposium titled Contemporary Trans/gender Studies at the Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies Department and guest lecturer in undergraduate class titled Transnational Sexualities (University of Minnesota 2014)