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School of Law

Dr Hannah Saunders


Research Fellow



Dr Hannah Saunders is a Research Fellow at Queen Mary University of London. Her work examines the law relating to disfigurement, disability and appearance and uses an interdisciplinary, socio-legal approach to critique law and policy in this area. She is currently working on an externally funded project aiming to improve workplace equality for people with disfigurements. This project involves working closely with NGOs in this area.

She has a PhD from Durham University, entitled "Does the law provide effective equality for people with a visible difference in the workplace?". She also edited two major textbooks in the field of disability and employment law for a number of years. She is currently writing a monograph, 'The Appearance of Equality?'. Prior to moving into academia, Hannah practised law for a number of years.

Hannah is interested in the theory of learning and holds a post-graduate diploma in professional education. She also participated in an HEA-funded study about digital visitors and residents and uses this experience to inform her teaching practice.

Hannah leads the Appearance and the Law Discussion Group – an academic forum where members meet to discuss the connections between appearance, identity, law and policy. If you are interested in joining the group, please do get in touch.


Hannah's research focuses on disfigurement, disability and appearance equality law, including the impact of:

  • the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • the disability (and severe disfigurement) provisions in the Equality Act 2010
  • international approaches to appearance in law



Conference papers and oral presentations

  • Hannah Saunders, ‘Should appearance be a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010?’, presentation to the Labour Law Discussion Group at UCL, October 2023.
  • (2023) 'A model of good practice for appearance-inclusive workplaces', Universities HR group.
  • (2023) 'Building Inclusivity', Association for Consultancy and Engineering.
  • (2023) Disfigurement: reaching this underrepresented group', United Nations Conference of State Parties under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabiities, side panel hosted by Face Equality International in conjunction with the ILO.
  • (2022) ‘Lightning talk: Facial difference and artificial intelligence’ at Rights Con 2022 online, delivered jointly with Phyllida Swift, CEO of Face Equality International.
  • Hannah Saunders and Nadia Craddock, 'Appearance Equality and the Law' podcast, Appearance Matters on Soundcloud, 2021.
  • (2022) 'Language, Law and lookism' and the Appearance, Identity and the Law Conference, Queen Mary University of London.
  • (2021), 'Reflections on visible difference workplace equality: One step forwards, two steps back?', Appearance Matters conference. UWE, Bristol.
  • (2020), Presentation to Centre for Appearance Research at UWE, Bristol.
  • (2019), ‘Disfigurement: A visibly different approach to equality?’, Society of Legal Scholars conference. Preston, Lancashire.
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