Prenuptial agreement monograph shortlisted for legal scholar award

10 August 2017

The cover image of Dr Sharon Thompson’s book 'Prenuptial Agreements and the Presumption of Free Choice: Issues of Power in Theory and Practice'
The cover image of Dr Sharon Thompson’s book 'Prenuptial Agreements and the Presumption of Free Choice: Issues of Power in Theory and Practice'

A ground-breaking book on prenuptial agreements has been shortlisted for the Society of Legal Scholars Birks Book Prize 2017.

Senior lecturer, Dr Sharon Thompson’s monograph Prenuptial Agreements and the Presumption of Free Choice: Issues of Power in Theory and Practice (Hart, 2015) is one of six books shortlisted in this year’s prize and is the first scholarly work published in this jurisdiction to deal fully with the developing law on prenuptial agreements.

Dr Thompson specialises in family law, property law, legal history and feminist legal scholarship.

Her book combines doctrinal legal analysis, historical study, feminist scholarship, contractual theory and original empirical fieldwork undertaken in New York, drawing on the experiences and views of practising lawyers there.

Dr Thompson’s book creates, develops and advocates a new approach which she entitles ‘Feminist Relational Contract Theory’. This combines feminist and contact theory to focus on the relationships people form over time and the power imbalances that exist especially in regard to gender. Thompson's Feminist Relational Contract Theory has become widely cited, discussed and applied by scholarly work in a wide range of areas.

The book has already been extremely influential upon policy-makers. The Law Commission’s paper on ‘Matrimonial Property Needs and Agreements’ discussed and referenced Dr Thompson’s study of New York attorneys and the ‘imbalance of power’ she identified.

It has also received a number of exemplary reviews in leading Law journals and is used by the International Academy of Family Lawyers in their exclusive library of only seven books worldwide. In 2016 it was shortlisted to the final three for the both the Socio-Legal Studies Association Hart Socio-Legal Book Prize and the Socio-legal Prize for Early Career Academics.

Find out more about Dr Thompson’s research in this short interview.

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