Oliver Phillips read Law and Politics at the University of Cape Town before his enthusiasm for Criminology led him to do an M.Phil. and then a PhD. at Cambridge University (Girton College). Oliver worked as a researcher and lecturer in Criminology at the University of London (Goldsmiths and Birkbeck Colleges), but then returned to lecturing Law when he joined the Gender, Sexuality, and Law group at Keele University. In 2000-2001 Oliver was the Rockefeller Fellow on the Program for the Study of Sexuality, Gender, Health and Human Rights at Columbia University (USA), and then joined the School of Law at Westminster in September 2002.
Oliver's teaching and research interests are drawn from the broad fields of crime and deviance, sexuality and gender, post-colonialism and rights. More specifically, his research and publications focus on the legal and conventional regulation of sexuality, as well as the legal and discursive production of rights and subjectivity. Located in the post-colonial context of Southern Africa, Oliver's research links the treatment of HIV/AIDS to issues such as the handling of custom in Constitutional law, enabling him to explore some of the tensions and confluences between the local and the global, and between claims made for universalism and for relativism.
Oliver is the module leader for the LLM module "Human Rights and Sexuality" and contributes to teaching Criminal Law on the LLB programme. He is involved in supervising both undergraduate and graduate dissertations.
A few examples of PhD dissertations that Oliver has supervised or is currently supervising are:
As School Research Director, Oliver sits on the University's Research Committee, and the University's Research Degree's Sub-Committee. Oliver also chairs the Law School's Research Committee and related sub-committees. He is an active participant in the research Centre for Law, Gender, and Sexuality at Westminster, which has strong links to Centres of Law, Gender and Sexuality at the universities of Keele and Kent at Canterbury.
Since 2002 Oliver has been a visiting lecturer at the Southern and Eastern African Resource Centre for Women and Law (SEARCWL) which is based in Harare at the University of Zimbabwe (though it is autonomous of UZ and has equally strong links with 8 other universities throughout the region). He continues to teach a module on sexuality and law on the LLM programme at SEARCWL. From 2002-2008, he was also a visiting lecturer at the Summer Institute for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society at the Universiteit van Amsterdam.
Oliver is currently on the editorial board of the International Journal of Human Rights, and is an Advisory Board Member for a number of research projects, including "Social Surveys: homosexuality and identity in two South African communities", and the Leverhulme Project "Gendered Ceremony and Ritual in Parliaments". He is Vice-Chair and a founding member of the Charity FOTAC (Friends of the Treatment Action Campaign - www.fotac.org) and from 2002-2008 was Deputy Chair of the Britain-Zimbabwe Society (www.britain-zimbabwe.org.uk) which operates as a networking forum for academics doing research that relates to Zimbabwe.
Oliver regularly acts as an expert witness to Immigration and Asylum Tribunals considering applications for asylum from Zimbabweans on the grounds of sexual orientation.