Assoc. Prof Derek Powell

Project Head

Derek Powell is an Associate Professor in Law and Head of the Applied Constitutional Studies Laboratory at the Dullah Omar Institute of Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. At ACSL he has pioneered applied research that combines legal and computational methods to understand, measure, and engage complex problems of accountability, the rule of law and social justice.

He is a former deputy director-general, senior civil servant and policy advisor in the South African government under the Mandela and Mbeki administrations (1996-2009), where he worked on high level policy processes to establish the systems of democratic local government and intergovernmental relations to implement the 1996 Constitution. Prior to joining government he was head of the research department at the Constitutional Assembly during the process to draft a democratic constitution for South Africa (1994-96). His latest book is State Formation After Civil War:  Local Government in National Peace Transitions (Routledge, 2016). He is co-editor of Jaap de Visser, Nico Steytler, Derek Powell, Ebenezer Durojaye (eds), Constitution Building in Africa (Nomos, 2015).  He holds BA (Law) (UCT),  LL.B (UCT), LL.M (Duke), LL.M (UCT), and LL.D (UWC) degrees.