Dr Sinéad Agnew

LLB (Dublin), MJur (Oxon), MPhil (Cantab), PhD (LSE)

Fellow (A), College Lecturer, Director of Studies, Postgraduate Mentor

College Roles

  • Fellow (A)
  • College Lecturer in Law
  • Director of Studies in Law (Part II)
  • Postgraduate Mentor

University Roles

  • Catherine Seville Associate Professor in Law


Email: sca27@cam.ac.uk


Dr Sinéad Agnew is the inaugural Catherine Seville Lecturer in Law at Newnham College and the Faculty of Law. At the faculty, she lectures in Equity and Land Law. In college, she is Director of Studies in Law, and supervises Equity.

Sinéad holds degrees in law from Trinity College Dublin (LLB), Oxford University (M Jur) and the London School of Economics (PhD), and a degree in social and economic history from the University of Cambridge (M Phil).

Before joining Cambridge, Sinéad lectured in law at Cardiff University and then at University College London. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and in 2019 she won an Excellence Award for Legal Teaching from the UCL Faculty of Laws, based on student feedback.

Before becoming an academic, Sinéad practised law for almost a decade, first as a barrister in London and subsequently as a litigation lawyer in Jersey. She is a Barrister (of Gray’s Inn, non-practising), an Associate Member of Serle Court, an Academic Member of the Chancery Bar Association, a member of the Executive Committee of the Trust Law Committee, and Secretary and Treasurer of the Cambridge Law Journal.

Research Interests

Dr Sinéad Agnew’s main research interests lie in the field of private law, including equity and the law of trusts, the law of obligations, and modern legal history. She is particularly interested in the moral justifications for, and the historical development of, equitable doctrine and equitable institutions such as the trust, and has published widely on these themes.

Sinéad has edited three essay collections: Modern Studies in Property Law: Volume 10 (Hart, 2019) (with Ben McFarlane), Pensions: Law, Policy and Practice (Hart, 2020) (with Paul S Davies and Charles Mitchell) and Law at the Cutting Edge: Essays in Honour of Sarah Worthington (Hart, forthcoming) (with Sir Marcus Smith).

She is a co-author of Underhill and Hayton: Law of Trusts and Trustees 20th edn (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2022) (with Jonathan Harris, Paul Matthews and Charles Mitchell) and Sealy & Worthington’s Text, Cases and Materials in Company Law 12th edn (OUP, 2022) (with Sarah Worthington).

Sinéad is also working on a monograph in which she seeks to explain the role of conscience in private law.