UCL Faculty of Laws


Anna Saunders

Email: anna.saunders.21@ucl.ac.uk

Anna Saunders

Twitter: @annajsaunders

Bluesky: @annasaunders

Anna joined the Faculty of Laws in 2021. Her PhD research examines the international law governing the creation and distribution of technology in international society, its relationship to historical and social transformations, and its significance for the contemporary world. The project traces imperial practices, judicial decisions and treaty frameworks governing patent rights in an industrialising world from the mid-nineteenth century through to the present. It explores the relationship between the development of the patent as an international property form and aspects of contemporary international legal thought, and suggests ways to reimagine both the patent form and legal thinking for the climate crisis. Anna’s wider research interests are in international law and theories of property, the relationship between economic thought and legal interpretation, and the encounters between legal research and histories of capitalism and climate. Her PhD project is supported by an AHRC London Arts and Humanities Partnership Research Studentship and by a Modern Law Review Scholarship. At UCL, she is a member of the Institute for Brand and Innovation Law and the Centre for Law and Environment.

Since 2023, Anna has been Assistant Editor at the London Review of International Law. She is co-convenor (with Jane Holder and Anna Stelle) of the Law Teachers’ Programme for 2023–24, and founder and co-chair (with Weronika Chrzanowska) of the Feminist Law Collective. In November 2023, she will be a visiting scholar at the Amsterdam Center for International Law. In 2022–23 she was a Graduate Lecturer teaching in the LLB subject Property I (land law) and supervising LLM and undergraduate research in international law and legal theory. Prior to commencing the PhD, she was a Teaching Fellow at Melbourne Law School teaching in public law and history, and a Senior Program Fellow with the Laureate Program in International Law, where she completed a research project on the law, history and political economy of post-war constitution-making (now published as a lead article in the American Journal of International Law).

In addition to her article in the American Journal of International Law, Anna has published two edited volumes, Revolutions in International Law: The Legacies of 1917 (as co-editor, with Kathryn Greenman, Anne Orford and Ntina Tzouvala) and International Law and the Cold War (as associate editor, with Matthew Craven, Sundhya Pahuja and Gerry Simpson). In 2021, she was a guest editor of a special issue on emerging scholarship in the Journal of Law and Political Economy. Other work has been published in Transnational Legal Theory and as chapters in edited volumes with leading university presses. Anna holds an LLM from Harvard Law School, where she was a Frank Knox Fellow, and a JD and MPhil from the University of Melbourne, where she was an editor-in-chief of the Melbourne Journal of International Law. In 2019–2020, she served as associate to Justice Susan Kenny AM at the Federal Court of Australia, and is qualified as an Australian legal practitioner and an officer of the Supreme Court of Victoria.


Thesis Title

International Law as Industrial Discipline: Property, Patents and Climate after the Nineteenth Century

Research Supervisor

Dr Megan Donaldson and Dr Gracia Marín Durán

Areas of Expertise

History and theory of international law, international law and property, international law and climate, law and technology, law and capitalism, legal theory

Selected publications as of September 2023

  • Anna Saunders, ‘Allende’s Workshop: Technological Diplomacy and the Stakes of Solidarity’ (Natalia Morales Cerda trans) forthcoming on CIL Dialogues.
  • Anna Saunders, ‘Constitution-Making as a Technique of International Law: Reconsidering the Postwar Inheritance’ (2023) 118 American Journal of International Law 251
  • Anna Saunders, ‘Law after Dominium: Thinking with Martti Koskenniemi on Property, Sovereignty and Transformation’, review essay on To the Uttermost Parts of the Earth: Legal Imagination and International Power, 1300–1870 (Cambridge University Press, 2021) (2023) 13 Transnational Legal Theory 475
  • Katie Super, Miriam Shestack, Anna Saunders and Kurt Walters, ‘Introduction: The 2021 Law and Political Economy Writing Prize’ (2021) 2(1) Journal of Law and Political Economy 23 (as guest editors for the Special Section on Emerging LPE Scholarship)
  • Kathryn Greenman, Anne Orford, Anna Saunders and Ntina Tzouvala (eds), Revolutions in International Law: The Legacies of 1917 (Cambridge University Press, 2021)
  • Kathryn Greenman, Anne Orford, Anna Saunders and Ntina Tzouvala, ‘International Law and Revolution: 1917 and Beyond’ in Kathryn Greenman, Anne Orford, Anna Saunders and Ntina Tzouvala (eds), Revolutions in International Law: The Legacies of 1917 (Cambridge University Press, 2021)
  • Anna Saunders, ‘“Animated by the European Spirit”: European Human Rights as Counterrevolutionary Legality’ in Kathryn Greenman, Anne Orford, Anna Saunders and Ntina Tzouvala (eds), Revolutions in International Law: The Legacies of 1917 (Cambridge University Press, 2021)
  • Anna Saunders, Economic Aggression, International Law and the Transformation of Sociological Thought, 1922–1977 (LLM 50-page paper, Harvard University, 2021)
  • Sundhya Pahuja and Anna Saunders, ‘Rival Worlds and the Place of the Corporation in International Law’ in Philipp Dann and Jochen von Bernstorff (eds), The Battle for International Law: South–North Perspectives on the Decolonization Era (Oxford University Press, 2019)
  • Matthew Craven, Sundhya Pahuja and Gerry Simpson (eds), with Anna Saunders (assoc ed), International Law and the Cold War (Cambridge University Press, 2019)

Recent or upcoming presentations

  • Book Panel on Constitutions of Value: Law, Governance and Political Ecology (Isabel Feichtner and Geoff Gordon eds), Workshop on ‘Constitutions of Value: Acumen and Prognoses’, Copenhagen Law School, November 2023 (by invitation)
  • 'After Transfer: Retheorising Technology for the Green Transition', invited presentation, Centre for Law, Regulation and Governance of the Global Economy, Warwick Law School, October 2023
  • ‘Industrial Internationalism: Patent Form and Legal Transformation after the Nineteenth Century’, Max Planck Summer Academy on Legal History, Frankfurt am Main, July 2023
  • ‘Beyond Transfer: Technology as Object or Structure in the Law of Decolonisation, 1961–1983’, LPE in Europe Summer Academy, Rotterdam, June 2023
  • ‘Ce principe sacré de la propriété’: Patents in the Mixed Courts of Egypt and the Making of Invention in International Law, 1840–1883, ‘Patent Futures: A History’ Workshop, Mundaneum, April 2023
  • ‘Locating Invention: International Law, Patent Properties and the Corporate Form’, Global Corporations and International Law PhD/ECR Workshop, University of Cambridge, December 2022
  • ‘Making Patents Global: From Rationalism to Competition and the Market State, 1927–1958’, History, Politics, Law: In Conversation — Doctoral Workshop, University College London, July 2022
  • ‘Asking the Public Law Question: Patents as International Property and the Making of the State’, Faculty of Laws PhD End of Year Workshop, University College London, June 2022
  • ‘Technologies of Peace: Enemy Patents, Custodial Functions, and the Interwar Construction of Security’, 13th Annual Workshop of the International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP), University of Gothenburg, June 2022
  • ‘Securing Invention: Property in Technology and the Form of International Law’, Workshop: Political Economy, History, International Law, Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement (IHEID), June 2022
  • Podcast with Anna Saunders, Kathryn Greenman and Anne Orford on Revolutions in International Law: The Legacies of 1917, New Books Network (9 November 2021) newbooksnetwork.com/revolutions-in-international-law

Academic and Professional Memberships


  • Institute for Brand and Innovation Law, UCL
  • Centre for Law and Environment, UCL
  • UCL Law and Political Economy
  • Socio-Legal Studies Association, UK
  • International Economic Law Collective, UK
  • European Society of International Law
  • Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law