Anne is a lawyer by training and did her PhD through the University of London (LSE) in 1988. Her thesis examined law and the family, providing an in-depth study of family disputes in a Kwena village in Botswana. Much of her research and published work subsequently has involved fieldwork in Botswana with a focus on land, gender, institutions and customary law. Her work during this time centred on the plurality of law and plural legal systems, and on the importance of engaging in empirical or ethnographic work in legal studies. In 2019 she published a book entitled Transformations on the ground: Space and the power of land in Botswana. This illustrates how in this age of globalisation, the global and the local are interconnected. It also highlights how the gendered dynamics of land tenure have shifted, so that some women are now gaining access to and control over land in ways that eluded them in the past.
Anne is an Emeritus Professor in Anthropology of Law at Edinburgh University Law School where she worked for 38 years. Just before she retired she was coordinating principal for Edinburgh in the European doctorate in Law and Development (EDOLAD) a new PhD programme involving a consortium of six universities in the Global North and South. She is currently as Senior Professor at the Institute of Asian and African Studies at Humboldt University in Berlin.