Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Law

Contact Details

Dr Oliver Lewis

Professor of Law and Social Justice

I was called to the Bar in 2000 and am an associate barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, London. I am the Executive Director of the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre, an international NGO that uses law to secure equality, inclusion and justice for people with mental health issues or learning disabilities worldwide. I am recurrent visiting professor in law at the Central European University where I developed a LLM module on ‘Mental disability law and advocacy”, and a faculty member at the Indian Law Society where I teach an international diploma on mental health and human rights law. I am a trustee of the Avon and Bristol Law Centre, and a member of PILNet’s Hungary board.

Oliver gave his inaugural lecture at the School of Law on 3 November 2016. Entitled “Disabling legal barriers”, the lecture drew on his experience of litigation and advocacy in central and eastern Europe over the last fifteen years. Drawing on the themes of anguish, activism and argument, Oliver called on law students to become social justice activists, whatever area of law they go into. The video is available to watch here, and the speech can be downloaded here

Research Interests

I am interested in how law serves both as a barrier to social inclusion and as method of addressing injustice. My research has focused on international human rights law and mechanisms, human rights monitoring (including monitoring closed institutions such as psychiatric hospitals), strategic litigation, legal capacity, mental health law, political participation and the right to life.

I served as research director for the first disability project of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, and have been retained as an expert to organisations such as the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights.


From 2016-17 academic year I will teach a new LLM module called “Global Human Rights Advocacy”. I will also teach on the LLB “Disability Law” module.

PhD Supervision

I would be happy to consider PhD proposals on the international human rights law, disability law or mental health law, and the challenges of lawyering, advocacy. implementation and monitoring.

Media Contact Areas

I am willing to speak to the media on any aspect of international disability rights.

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