Skip to main content
Dr Sharon Thompson

Dr Sharon Thompson

Reader in Law

School of Law and Politics

+44(0)29 2087 4362
1.18, Law Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX
Media commentator


I joined Cardiff in 2015, having previously been a Lecturer at Keele University (2013-2015) and a Visiting Fellow in 2014 at City University Hong Kong. I lecture on Family Law, Equity & Trusts and Legal History and am module leader of Family Law and joint module leader of Legal History. I am also PGR tutor co-ordinator for the School of Law and Politics.

I research the areas of divorce, family property, prenuptial agreements, and mid-twentieth century legal history, with a particular focus on feminist perspectives.

I am on the editorial boards of Feminist Legal Studies and Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law and am a member of the Network on Family Regulation and Society (comprised of Family Law academics from the Universities of Bristol, Bath, Exeter and Cardiff). I co-lead the Law and Gender and Law and History research groups at Cardiff and I am one of the editors of 'Transforming Legal Histories', a book series published by Routledge designed to showcase scholarship which uses historical theory, approaches or methods to analyse law and legal change.







Education and qualifications

  • 2015: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).
  • 2015: Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Keele University.
  • 2013: PhD. Queen’s University Belfast.
  • 2009: Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) First Class Honours. Queen’s University Belfast.

Career overview

  • 2020 - present: Reader in Law, Cardiff University.
  • 2018 – present: Editorial board member, Feminist Legal Studies.
  • 2018 – present: Book series editorial board member, Transforming Legal Histories.(Routledge)
  • 2017 – 2020: Senior Lecturer in Law, Cardiff University.
  • 2015 – 2020: Co-editor of case notes, Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law.
  • 2015 – 2017: Lecturer in Law, Cardiff University.
  • 2014: Visiting Fellow, City University Hong Kong.
  • 2013 – 2015: Lecturer in Law, Keele University.
  • 2009 – 2013: Law Tutor, School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast.

Honours and awards

  • Dillwyn Medal for Humanities and Creative Arts, Highly Commended, 2021.
  • Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) research grant, 2018.
  • Shorlisted, Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship, 2017.
  • Shortlisted, SLSA Hart Socio-Legal Book Prize, 2016.
  • Shortlisted, SLSA Socio-Legal prize for Early Career Academics, 2016.
  • Participant on Cardiff Futures Programme, 2016/17.
  • Outstanding Contribution Award for excellence in research, Cardiff University, 2016.
  • Visiting Fellow, City University Hong Kong, 2014.
  • Travel Award, Emily Sarah Montgomery Scholarship, 2011.
  • Travel Award, County Antrim Grand Jury Bursary, 2010.
  • Law Society Prize, Queen’s University Belfast, 2009.
  • McKane Medal and Scholarship (Law and Philosophy), Queen’s University Belfast, 2009.
  • Foundation Scholarship (awarded to top three Law students), Queen’s University Belfast, 2007.
  • McKane Medal and Scholarship (Jurisprudence), Queen’s University Belfast, 2007.

Professional memberships

  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the GW4 Network on Family Regulation and Society.
  • Member of the International Society of Family Lawyers.
  • Member of the Research Committee on Sociology of Law International Working Group on the Legal Professions.
  • Member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association.
  • Member of the Society of Legal Scholars.

Speaking engagements


  • 'Married Women's Property Act 1964', Women's Legal Landmarks: In Conversation, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 13th November 2019.
  • 'Edith Summerskill and the Married Women's Association: Backstage Revolutionaries of Family Law', hosted by Friends of the Women’s Library, LSE, 16th January 2019.


  • (with F Cranmer) 'Marriage Law in Northern Ireland', Relationship Breakdown: Informal and Legal Solutions, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 14th December 2018.
  • ‘Twentieth Century Housewives and the Marriage Contract’, The Sexual Contract: 30 Years On, 10th May 2018.
  • (with R Sandberg) ‘Feminist Relational Contract Theory: A New Approach to the ‘Minorities within Minorities’ Debate’, LARSN Annual Conference, 27th April 2018.
  • (with R Sandberg) ‘Feminist Relational Contract Theory: A New Approach to the ‘Minorities within Minorities’ Debate’, SLSA Conference 2018, University of Bristol, 28th March 2018.
  • ‘Panel: The Sexual Contract: 30 Years On with Carole Pateman’, Political Studies Association 68th Annual International Conference, 26th March 2018.
  • 'Gold-Digging and Family Law Reform', NUI Galway, 9th February 2018.


  • 'The Significance of the 'Gold-Digging' Trope for Family Law Reform', University of Bristol, 25th October 2017.
  • 'The Gold-Digging Trope in Family Law', University of Warwick, 11th October 2017.
  • ''Gold-digging' on divorce: myth, power and financial inequity', SLS Conference 2017, University College Dublin, 5th-8th September 2017.
  • ''Gold-Diggers' of Family Law', ISFL World Conference, Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam, 26th July 2017.
  • 'Relational Autonomy and Religious Tribunals', University of Glasgow, 15th June 2017
  • '“We want prenup!” The Gold-Digging Trope in Family Law', University of Durham, 20th February 2017.


  • ‘The Married Women’s Association’s Fight for Wives’ Right to Housekeeping Savings’, SLS Annual Conference, University of Oxford, 6th-9th September 2016.
  • ‘Feminist Relational Contract Theory as Method: Addressing Patterns of Power in Nuptial Agreements’, Working Group on Legal Professions, Andorra, 6th -9th July 2016.
  • ‘Are Methods in Law a Feminist Issue?’ Gender Rules Conference, Cardiff University, 20th June 2016.
  • ‘Good housekeeping? The Married Women’s Association, Women’s Right to Housekeeping, and the Value of Work in the Home’, SLSA Annual Conference, Lancaster University, 5th-7th April 2016.


  • ‘The Married Women’s Property Act 1964’, Women’s Legal Landmarks workshop, University of Reading, 19th-20th November 2015.
  • ‘In Defence of the Gold-Digger’, Radically Rethinking Marriage Conference, Oñati, Spain, 16th -17th July 2015.
  • ‘Prenuptial Agreements, Gendered Power and the Potential Impact of Same-Sex Marriage’, Keele University, 4th February 2015.


  • ‘Judging Prenuptial Agreements: Rethinking Autonomy and Recognising Power’, SLS Conference 2014, University of Nottingham, 9th-12th September 2014.


  • ‘Prenuptial Agreements and the Presumption of Free Choice: Issues of Power in Theory and Practice’, SLSA Conference 2012, De Montford University, Leicester, 3rd April 2012.


  • ‘Prenuptial Agreements since Radmacher v Granatino’, 3rd Annual School of Law Postgraduate Research Conference, Queen’s University Belfast, 20th May 2011.
  • ‘Prenuptial Agreements and the Meaning of “Fairness” since Radmacher v Granatino’, SLSA Conference 2011, University of Sussex, 13th April 2011.


  • ‘Prenuptial Agreements and the Conceptualisation of Marriage’, 2nd Annual School of Law Postgraduate Research Conference, Queen’s University Belfast, 10th May 2010.
  • ‘Contract Marriage – the Implications for Prenuptial Agreements’, Scottish Young Researcher’s Colloquium, University of Dundee, 23rd April 2010.

Committees and reviewing

  • Law School Research Seminar Co-ordinator.
  • Co-director of Family Law Research Group.
  • Co-director of Law and History Research Group.
  • Co-director of Law and Gender Research Group.
  • Personal tutor.















  • Equity & Trusts (module leader)
  • Legal History (joint module leader)
  • Family Law


  • Adult relationships
  • Financial consequences of relationship breakdown
  • Private ordering in the family context
  • Feminist perspectives on law
  • Feminist legal history

Current supervision

Rachael Blakey

Research student

Past projects