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Dr Anna Heenan

Lecturer in Law

+44 (0)29 2087 4366
2.06, Law Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX
Available for postgraduate supervision


I joined the School of Law and Politics as Lecturer in September 2018, having previously been a solicitor in practice and studying for a PhD at the University of Exeter.

My research is in family law, with a particular focus on the financial consequences of relationship breakdown. My PhD research looked at the financial arrangements reached by separating parents, and how childcare responsibilities intersected with these. During this project, I spent time as a visiting researcher at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. I also conducted interviews with lawyers in Sweden and the Netherlands in order to understand the different approaches taken by the law in these jurisdictions.

I have written on a variety of family law subjects, and am the co-author of the Family Law Concentrate revision guide published by OUP.

I believe strongly in access to justice, and manage the Law School's Support Through Court and Victim Support and pro bono schemes. I have also been heavily involved in establishing the Law in the Community module which allows students to gain pro bono experience as part of their degree. 

I continue to work as a Professional Support Lawyer at the Family Law Practice in Bristol, where I deliver regular training sessions on the latest developments in family law. 



Between 2009-2015, I was a solicitor specialising in family law. I continue to undertake occasional work as a consultant solicitor.

In 2013, I began my 1+3 ESRC funded PhD thesis at the University of Exeter. My PhD was awarded in 2020, and I received the Fox Family prize for outstanding thesis and viva performance.

 Honours and awards

  • Fox Family Award for PhD and viva performance, University of Exeter (2020)
  • ESRC Research Training and Support Grant Top-Up Award (2017)
  • ESRC Overseas Institution Visit Award (2017)
  • Dean’s Commendation for recognition of outstanding achievement on MRes in Socio-legal studies, University of Exeter (2015)
  • 1+3 ESRC PhD Studentship (2013)
  • Sally Ball Prize for EU Law, University of Oxford (2006)
  • Lovells Prize for students showing exceptional academic abilities, University of Oxford (2005)

Professional memberships

  • Member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association
  • Member of the GW4 Network on Family Regulation and Society

 Speaking engagements 

  • SLSA Annual Conference (Cardiff)(April 2021)
  • SLSA Annual Conference (Cancelled due to Covid-19)(April 2020)
  • LSA Annual Meeting (Washington DC)(May 2019)
  • SLSA Annual Conference (Leeds)(April 2018)
  • LSA Annual Meeting (Toronto) (June 2018)
  • SLSA Annual Conference (Bristol)(March 2018)
  • Emory University workshop on Autonomy and Vulnerability (Atlanta)(February 2018)
  • Higher Seminar, University of Uppsala(November 2017)
  • Presentation to the Welfare and Life-course Research Group, University of Uppsala(October 2017)
  • International Society of Family Law Conference (Amsterdam)(July 2017)

 Committees and reviewing

  • Member of the LAWPL Research Ethics Committee
  • Case Notes Editor, Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law
  • Peer Reviewer, Child and Family Law Quarterly












I currently teach on the following undegraduate modules:

  • Equity and Trusts
  • Family Law (Joint module leader)

I have previously taught on the Law in the Community module, which allows students to gain placement and pro bono experience as part of their degree. 

During my PhD, I taught on the Family Law undergraduate modules at Exeter University and the University of the West England. When I was a solicitor in practice, I also taught on the Legal Practice Course for NCLT.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

My research is in family law, with a particular focus on the financial consequences of relationship breakdown. 

My recent work looks at caring responsibilities and considers how these fit within a legal framework which prioritises individual autonomy. I am also interested in international approaches to these issues, and as part of my PhD research I spent time as a Visiting Researcher at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. 

I am a case notes editor for the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law and a member of the GW4 Network on Family Regulation and Society. I also retain strong links with practice, which allows me to draw on both practical and theoretical understandings of the law in my work. 


I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • The regulation of adult relationships
  • The financial consequences of relationship breakdown
  • Private ordering of family law
  • International aspects of the above

Areas of expertise