Eleanor Rowan

Eleanor Rowan

Birmingham Law School
Doctoral researcher
Visiting lecturer

Contact details


  • LLB (Hons) - Liverpool John Moores University (Proxime Accessit Award -Liverpool Law Society)
  • LLM (General) – University of Birmingham
  • MA in Social Research – University of Birmingham


The topic of undue influence has intrigued me since my second year of my LLB; I then re-visited the subject during my taught LLM at the University of Birmingham in the ‘Banking Law’ module. Having then completed a dissertation on the subject, I realised there was a lacuna in the literature on this topic on how protective procedures are delivered to sureties by representatives of banks and solicitors. With the support of Dr Steven Vaughan I secured ESRC 1+3 funding for my thesis proposal relating to the ‘protective procedures’ in place for sureties entering bank lending transactions. The funding achieved included specialist research training through a MA in Social Research.

Whilst studying for my MA in Social Research, as part of my dissertation, I conducted a small socio-legal study. I interviewed a small sample of law students on how they chose the law firms they applied to for vacation schemes and training contracts. I hope in the future to publish this study as I believe it would be of significant interest to both law schools and law firms across the country. 

My socio-legal interests are primarily based in commercial law and legal practice. However, after working as Magistrate Court Administrator for a year before my MA in Social Research, I intend to complete research into the administration of justice in Magistrate courts. I am particularly interested in the recruitment and training processes of Magistrates. I am also interested in the law of medical ethics and particularly interested in the law relating to abortion in Ireland.

I was made an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2017.


  • Land Law
  • Land Law in Action

Doctoral research

PhD title
A study investigating the equitable doctrine of undue influence and the ‘protective procedures’ in place for sureties entering bank lending transactions.
Professor Robert Lee
Law PhD / PhD by Distance Learning / MPhil / MJur


In the area of the law of undue influence, over time, we have seen two distinct but linked phenomena: the first is a transfer of risk and responsibility from banks to solicitors. It is the solicitor’s responsibility to give independent legal advice to the surety and, once they receive the solicitor’s certificate, the bank is protected. The second phenomena relates to informed consent. Sureties are given legal advice about the transaction before they ‘sign away’ some of their rights (most often their interest in their family home). However they are not informed, or are not required to be informed, that they are being given this advice because of potential concerns relating to undue influence. These two phenomena raise interesting and important questions about power relationships between service providers (in an increasingly risk conscious, professionalism-focused, post financial crisis era) and power, autonomy and gender in the context of the ordinary lives of everyday people. My research endeavors to explore these themes.

Source of funding: ESRC 1+3


  •  ‘“Fitting in” and “opting out”: exploring how law students self-select law firm employers’ [2017] The Law Teacher (with Steven Vaughan)