School of Politics and International Relations

Dr Peter Brett, BA (UCL), MSc (SOAS), PhD (SOAS)


Senior Lecturer in International Politics

Telephone: 020 7882 6913
Room Number: Arts One, 2.16A
Office Hours: By appointment only - please email to arrange.


Peter joined the School in 2015. Previously he was a Teaching Fellow in Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), where he did his graduate studies. He has also worked as an Adjunct Professor at Richmond – the American International University in London, and has taught at the University of Paris (Panthéon-Sorbonne). He has a broad range of interests, including the politics of Sub-Saharan Africa, international law, legal sociology, the politics of rights, and the history of international relations.

He teaches at the University of London Institute in Paris in the second semester.

Find Peter Brett on 

Undergraduate Teaching

POL259 The Politics of International Law

POL372 Africa and International Politics


Research Interests:

Peter works on the international dimension of African politics, straddling the international relations and political science disciplines. He has a particular interest in the globalisation of human rights law, explaining its origins and evaluating its effects. His recent research has focused on the legitimacy of international courts in West and Southern Africa, and he is currently part of a large group of (European and African) early-career researchers investigating African judicial careers and the politics of judicial appointments. 

Examples of research funding:

Peter's current research into judicial appointments, with Sara Dezalay (University of Cardiff), is funded by British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grant for 2017-8.



(with Line Engbo Gissel) Africa and the Backlash Against International Courts (Zed Books, forthcoming in 2019-20).

Human Rights and the Judicialisation of African Politics (Routledge, 2018).

Journal articles

"Who are Judicial Decisions Meant For? The ʽGlobal Community of Lawʼ in Southern Africa." International Political Science Review 39:5 (2018): 585-599.

(with Line Engbo Gissel) "Explaining African Participation in International Courts." African Affairs 117:467 (2018): 195–216.

‘Cause lawyers sans frontières: juristes sud-africains et judiciarisation du politique en Afrique australe.’ Politique Africaine 138:2 (2015): 93-113.

‘Explaining South Africa’s Bill of Rights: An Interpretive Approach.’ Commonwealth and Comparative Politics 52:3 (2014): 423-442.

Opinion Pieces

'A Global Human Rights Movement?' OpenDemocracy (July 2013).

‘European governments and African demands for reparations’, LSE Ideas, (January 2012).

Other peer-reviewed publications

‘The New Historiography of Human Rights.’ E-IR (February 2013).

‘A Critical Introduction to the ‘Legalisation of World Politics’, E-IR (March 2012).

Selected book reviews

Nic Cheeseman, David Anderson and Andrea Scheibler, Eds., The Routledge Handbook of African Politics, in Commonwealth and Comparative Politics 53:4 (2015): forthcoming.

Karen Alter, The New Terrain of International Law, in E-IR (October 2014).

Yves Dezalay and Bryant G. Garth, Eds., Lawyers and the Rule of Law in an Era of Globalization, in Political Studies Review 10:3 (2012): 430-431.

Kathryn Sikkink, The Justice Cascade, in E-IR (June 2012).


Peter would be interested in supervising PhDs on the politics of rights, international law, legal professionals, and African states in the international system. He would particularly welcome proposals relating to West and Southern Africa.