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Dr Sanna Elfving

Senior Lecturer in Law

Faculty/Dept/School School of Law
(Faculty of Management, Law and Social Sciences)
Telephone +441274 236784


Sanna joined the University of Bradford in September 2014. She has wide research interests, ranging from EU free movement law to international and European human rights law. She is also the Research Lead at the School of Law.


Sanna has co-authored a research monograph with Dr Jessica Guth entitled Gender and Court of Justice of the European Union  published by Routledge in 2019.  In 2021, she published academic journal article on the right of residence for EU citizens in the UK after Brexit as well as to Handbook of Gender and EU Politics (Routledge 2021) focusing on judicial politics within the Court of Justice of the EU.

She is currently working on a funded project which builds on the monograph and involves interviews with lawyers who have presented applicants at national courts as well as the Court of Justice of the EU. The interviewees are based in England, Ireland and elsewhere in the EU Member States and include solicitors, barristers and former judges.

Sanna is also working on two other research outputs, one of which is related to gender in asylum cases before the Court of Justice. Additionally, Sanna is a co-investigator together with colleagues from Computer Science at the University of Bradford in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project with a London based immigration law firm entitled ‘AI-based Expert System for Supporting Decision Making in UK Immigration Law’ funded by Innovate UK (2020-2022). 

Sanna has successfully supervised a PhD thesis to completion and is currently supervising the following Law PhD Researchers and their indicative topics:

  • Nigel Pitchford, Access of Local Government Workforce to Grievance Procedures (Principal Supervisor)

  • Xingyu Chen, Future Bilateral Foreign Direct Investment between China, the UK and the EU after Brexit (Co-Supervisor)
  • Sophia Imegi, Renewable Energy Investment in Nigeria and its West African neighbours in the context of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) (Principal Supervisor)
  • Aleksandra Marcinkowska, Central and Eastern European Citizens' Right of Residence in the United Kingdom after Brexit (Principal Supervisor)
  • Anelisse Bivol-Nigel, The Interpretation of Human Rights Law and the Quality of Justice: Online vs Physical Courts (Principal Supervisor)

  • Fatima Piracha, International Legal Regime Related to Refugee Law (Principal Supervisor)
  • Marianne Hardy, Women and Girls at the European Courts: An Exploration of Gender Inequality in Asylum (Principal Supervisor)

Sanna is a Member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, and she has conducted external review activities for other UK Law Schools in the preparation for the REF2021.  
Date Role Title / Description Funder Award
14-SEP-20 - 14-SEP-23Co-InvestigatorSystem for Supporting Decision Making in UK Immigration Law


Teaching interests

Sanna’s teaching is influenced by her research on current developments in European Union (EU) and international law. For instance, her module ‘EU and International Law’ covers issues in EU internal market, including free movement of persons, goods, services, and capital as well as EU anti-discrimination law. She is also following the on-going developments in the EU asylum policies due to irregular migration from Middle East and North Africa to Europe as well as in the legal landscape after the United Kingdom's decision to leave the EU.

Sanna uses her research skills to supervise both LLB and LLM dissertations. Some of the LLM dissertation topics she has supervised have included:

  • The critical analysis of the practical implementation of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees in the Unites States and Australia; 
  • The right of States to manage various activities in their territorial waters in the context of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS);
  • Asylum decisions in the UK on the grounds of age as well as a membership to a particular social group; 
  • Human rights violations in Ethiopia under the anti-terrorism legislation

Professional activities

  • 01-NOV-20: Society of Legal Scholars, Member
  • Programme & Module Management: Programme Leader
  • Research Group Leadership: Research Coordinator for the School of Law


Peer Reviewed Journal
TitleImagining the impossible? Fears of deportation and the barriers in obtaining EU Settled Status in the UK (2021)
AuthorsSanna Elfving and Aleksandra Marcinkowska
JournalCentral and Eastern European Migration Review
DOIdoi: 10.17467/ceemr.2021.04
TitleEmerging Framework of Energy Governance in the MENA Region (2017)
AuthorsElfving, Sanna
TitleProspective Governance and Legal Framework between the EU and MENA in Renewable Energy Cooperation (2016)
AuthorsElfving, Sanna
TitleShaping the future of hydraulic fracturing in the Canadian Arctic through environmental guidelines (2016)
AuthorsElfving, Sanna
TitleHow Robust is the Governance System of British Columbia for Regulating the Environmental Aspects of Shale Gas Development? (2014)
AuthorsElfving, Sanna
TitleGender and the Court of Justice of the European Union (2018)
AuthorsGuth, Jessica; Elfving, Sanna
Book Chapters
TitleCourt of Justice of the EU and Judicial Politics (2020)
AuthorsJessica Guth and Sanna Elfving
JournalRoutledge Handbook of Gender and EU Politics
TitleRegulation of shale gas in the United Kingdom and its potential to inform the EU level harmonising measures in the future (2017)
AuthorsElfving, Sanna
Other Publications
Other typeBook Review
TitleTrade in the Service of Sustainable Development: Linking Trade to Labour Rights and Environmental Standards, by Olivier De Schutter, published by Hart, 2015, 224 pp., £45.00, hardback (2016)
AuthorsElfving, Sanna