Photo of Dr Natalie Ohana

Dr Natalie Ohana


Amory B302

Natalie joined the Law School at the University of Exeter as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in September 2016. She holds a PhD from University College London, an LLM (Magna Cum Laude) and LLB from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 

Natalie's socio-legal and interdisciplinary research focuses on the gap between life experiences and their representation in legal language, discourse and proceedings. 

In her PhD dissertation, Natalie applied a Foucauldian discourse analysis to examine the role of legal discourse mechanisms in constructing accepted legal knowledge and in excluding other possibilities of knowledge that do not conform to the accepted one. As a case study, she analysed the construction of the legal meaning of domestic violence against women and compared the formation of knowledge in law to the formation of knowledge in sociology and the mental health field. 

Her current postdoctoral research examines the understanding, representation and construction of psychological trauma in legal proceedings. 

Before her PhD, Natalie was a lawyer and the Head of Legal Department of the domestic violence refuge in Jerusalem, Israel, representing women in civil and religious courts and advocating for legislative and policy change. 

Natalie received the 2015 UCL Provost Award for Public Engagement for the project she developed in Laws, funded by the PhD Research Impact and Innovation Fund (PRIF) to better understand the ways people experience the legal system. Through the use of art as a means of expression, Natalie sought to reveal the subtleties of legal experience and its multi-layered nature.

Research interests

Natalie's British Academy Postdoctoral research project is the first comprehensive examination of the adaptability of legal proceedings to people who experienced trauma. It examines whether a significant gap can be located between the experience of trauma and its representation in legal proceedings, arguing that such a gap can be crucial to the ability to provide effective and responsive legal remedies to people who suffer trauma, and explore whether this gap, if located, is reducible. The project analyses the tensions between the experience of trauma and its legal representation through examining a case study by working directly with people who ask for asylum in the UK and women in domestic violence refuges and integrating an art based research method as part of its methodology.


Natalie Ohana, Beyond Words: Breaking the Boundaries of Legal Language, Feminists@Law, 6(1), 2016

Natalie Ohana, Portraying the Legal in Socio-Legal Studies through Legal-Naming Events, in: Exploring the Legal In Socio Legal Studies, pg. 80 - 98, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015