School of Law, Gender and Media

Dr Olivia Lwabukuna

Key information

School of Law, Gender and Media Lecturer in Law Centre of African Studies Member Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies Member Centre for Human Rights Law Member
*LL. B (Swaziland) LL.M (Cape Town) LL.D. (Pretoria) Advocate (Tanzania)
Paul Webley Wing (Senate House)
Email address
Telephone number
+44 (0) 207 074 5120
Support hours
Tuesdays 1:00 -2:00 PM (in person)
Wednesdays 4:00 - 5:00 PM (online).


Olivia is currently based in the School of Law where she has convened and taught on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules including International Law, Foundations of Human Rights Law, Research Methods in Law, Legal Systems of Asia and Africa, and Law and Development in Africa. She is also the editor of the Journal of African Law (Cambridge).

A Tanzanian lawyer and Advocate of the High Court of Tanzania, Olivia has worked within professional, policy research and academic roles in South Africa, Tanzania, Swaziland, Kenya, Nigeria and the United Kingdom. During this time, she has also carried out field research in Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar and Ghana. Olivia has additionally held prestigious fellowships and visiting lectureships in and on Africa, including being a Cadbury (African Studies) research fellow in the Center for West African Studies (now DASA), at the University of Birmingham, and was previously a visiting lecturer and then an extra-ordinary lecturer in the Faculty of Law of the University of Pretoria. She is currently a research fellow at the Free State Human Rights Centre of the University of the Free State in South Africa.

Olivia’s research interests lie in the area of law’s interaction with development, specifically within an African regional and transnational context. She is interested in how contextual law, governance, policy, and regulation influence/impede development. She has particularly worked on internal displacement, extractivism and property rights. In this respect, she researches the governance of extractive natural resources, women’s land and property rights, and displacement emanating from conflict-induced land claims, development projects on land, and land–related resource claims/pillage. She engages the above within the context of national, regional, transnational, and international law institutions and frameworks and their complex framing of, and contested relationship with inequality, inequity, plurality, fragility, sustainability and coloniality in Africa. These research areas straddle fields of international human rights law, international migration law, international economic law, and international/law and development.

With the support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s Rule of Law Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa, Olivia has convened the Bi-Annual Regional Rule of Law and Inclusive Development in Africa Workshops since 2017 (Namibia, Malawi, Tanzania) covering aspects of the research described above and bringing together key policymakers, activists, academics, lawmakers and judges from various African regions. Her edited book resulting from the project - ‘Women’s Land Rights in East and Southern Africa: Gender, Law, and Development is underway.


Research interests

Development, Displacement, Resource Governance, Women’s Property Rights and African Legal Theory and Legal Systems

PhD Supervision

Name Title
Aruna Bundu-Conteh The Costs, Myths and Realities of International Investment Treaty Arbitration in the Extractives Sectors and West African States.
Marta Simonetti Realising environmental rights in national and sub-national contexts. Global to local perspective, with focus on Indonesia.


Contact Olivia