Anna Christensen was the first female professor of law in Sweden.
Anna Christensen was born in 1936. She grew up in Tumba to the southwest of Stockholm. After gaining her school-leaving certificate she studied law in Stockholm and gained her Batchelor of Law in 1959. She undertook her notarial clerk service at Stockholm magistrates’ court and then enrolled at Uppsala University where she began her PhD studies. She defended her thesis entitled Studier i köprätt in 1970 and thereby became the second female lawyer to have gained her doctorate at Uppsala – the first had been Elsa Eschelsson in 1897. Anna Christensen became a docent the same year that she gained her doctorate and three years later she became associate professor of civil law at Uppsala University.
Anna Christensen moved to Lund in the mid-1970s. In April 1975 she was appointed Professor of civil law at the legal faculty of Lund University. She thus became the first female professor of law in Sweden. Anna Christensen quickly built up a strong research environment within the sphere of employment law and subsequently became an important role model for younger colleagues and doctoral students, particularly for the female legal students whose numbers increased steadily over the years.
While she was at Lund University Anna Christensen researched the regulations connected to the welfare state, such as employment laws and rental laws. She also developed her criticism of the legal system. Her inaugural lecture, “Makt och Rättsregler”, had already noted the relationship between the legal and political systems. This critical analysis also appeared in Anna Christensen’s research on regulations regarding social security laws and social civil law. The theories regarding the normative basic design of the legal system, which Anna Christensen herself had formulated in the 1990s, were based on important theoretical and methodological principles.
When Sweden joined the European Union in the 1990s issues of social law became relevant in a new way. In 1995 Anna Christensen and Professor Ann Numhauser Henning began a multidisciplinary research programme into normative developments within the social sphere from the perspective of European integration. This research programme, called Norma, is still running (2017) at the legal faculty of Lund University.
From the 1980s onwards and right up until her death Anna Christensen served as a well-liked and frequent columnist for Dagens Nyheter and her submissions to the newspaper made her an important figure within the wider debate. In total she wrote 230 pieces, of which the last two were printed posthumously.
Anna Christensen died in March 2001. Her ashes were dispersed into the sea near Haverdal in Halland.