Dr Francis Rees

Essex Law School
Dr Francis Rees
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 876248

  • Location

    4SB.5.18, Colchester Campus



Francis Rees is a Lecturer at the Essex Law School. Dr Rees is working on appearance discrimination in the workplace, with a specific view to forms of aesthetic labour, where an attractive appearance is integral to the the employability of the workforce. Her current research considers the role of Instagram as an 'other space', and explores what this means for child influencers on the platform, who have more heightened risks, but lower safeguarding practices and procedures, than their child model or child actor counterparts. Previously Dr Rees has researched in areas of statutory authority, in consideration of the Planning Act 2008, as well as visual approaches to property law pedagogy. Her work generally applies critical perspectives, and she has applied a Foucauldian framework to her Phd thesis, as well as her current work on Instagram as a heterotopia, or 'other space'. As a member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association, Dr Rees encourages legal perspectives that combine theoretical and methodological approaches, with practical experiential or 'lived experience' research. Prior to joining the University of Essex, Dr Rees was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster. She holds a PhD from the School of the Built Environment at the University of Salford, and an LLB from the University of East Anglia. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and very invested in pedagogic developments that utilise technology in an effective and engaging manner.

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Appearance Discrimination

This research explores the broader issues of workplace appearance, and the inherent discriminations and bias that this can evoke. It also then contextualises this further within industries where 'appearance matters', and forms of aesthetic labour that prioritise the beauty of the workforce. Does the academic focus on forms of 'aesthetic labour', as a discipline, then merit a form of responsive 'aesthetic labour law', in order to consider the potentially discriminatory aspects of such practices?

Key words: Aesthetic Labour
Open to supervise

Child Influencer Labour

This project considers the Instagram platform as a heterotopia, or 'other space', which relies upon the construction and cultivation of a commodified self. This marketable version of the self has resulted in the rise of the 'influencer'; but what of 'child influencers', who appear on the platform but have none of the safeguarding practices or procedures that their child model or child actor counterparts would have? This research identifies eighteen types of harm facing these young influencers, and recognises that the law is not responding to their safeguarding needs in this novel work space.

Key words: Child Employment
Open to supervise

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Land Law (LW102)

  • Tort Law (LW201)

  • Legal Research Skills (LW254)

  • Land Law (LW303)

  • Final Year Research Project (LW304)

  • Postgraduate research methods and professional development (LW987)

  • French Private Law II (LW208)


Journal articles (3)

King, F., (2016). Visual approaches to property law pedagogy. International Journal of Law in the Built Environment. 8 (1), 80-94

Moor, F., (2011). Planning for nuisance?. International Journal of Law in the Built Environment. 3 (1), 65-82

Rees, F., (2011). Prohibited by Parliament but Considered in Courts: Pursuing an Action in Nuisance under the Planning Act 2008. Environmental Law and Management. 23 (5)

Book chapters (3)

King, F., Public Participation in Infrastructure Planning – United Kingdom. In: Public Participation in Infrastructure Planning - Comparative Analysis of 10 European Countries. Editors: Gross, T., . European Public Law Organization (EPLO). 978-618-81128-9-6

Rees, F., (2016). Facilitating Small Group Discussions. In: The Legal Academic's Handbook. Red Globe Press. 1137434287. 9781137434289

Rees, F., (2015). 'United Kingdom'. In: Public Participation in Infrastructure Planning Comparative Analysis of 10 European Countries. Editors: Gross, T., . 6188112893. 9786188112896

Grants and funding


Child Influencer Labour � Developing a Digital Safeguarding Toolkit

University of Essex

Irish Child Digital Labour Practices � Education and/or Regulation?

University of Essex (QR Impact Fund)

+44 (0) 1206 876248


4SB.5.18, Colchester Campus