Dr Alex Powell


Principal Lecturer in Law and Programme Lead for Law

School of Law and Social Sciences

Alex Powell


Alex joined the School of Law at Oxford Brookes University in 2020 as a Teaching Fellow in Law. In February 2022, he took up a new role as a Lecturer in Law. In July 2023, Alex was apppointed as a Principal Lecturer in Law and took on Programme Lead responsibilities for several Law programmes including the Final Year Entry Programme and the MC Greece, BCAS and Brickfields partnerships. Alex is currently module leader of the Theory and Critique of Human Rights (LLM) and Contemporary Issues in Human Rights (LLM) modules.  Alongside his teaching and administrative responsibilities, Alex is the Research Group Convenor for the Critical Legal Perspectives on Law, Society, Gender and Diversity research group. 

Alex holds a PhD in Law from City, University of London for a thesis entitled Queering Refugee Law: A Study of Sexual Diversity in Asylum Policy and Practice in the United Kingdom. Before beginning his doctoral studies, Alex graduated from Birkbeck, University of London with an LLM with Distinction in Constitutional Politics, Law, and Theory and The University of Reading with a first-class LLB in Law. During his LLM, Alex was also awarded the Gilchrist Postgraduate Prize for 'outstanding achievement across all masters programmes' and the LLM in Constitutional Law prize for 'The top graduate on LLM in Constitutional Politics, Law and Theory.' 

During his doctoral studies, Alex also held roles as an Associate Lecturer in Law at Royal Holloway, University of London and a Visiting Lecturer and Graduate Teaching Fellow in Law at City, University of London. 

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught

Module leader of: 

  • Theory and Critique of Human Rights (LLM) 
  • Contemporary Issues in Human Rights  (LLM) 


Alex welcomes PhD Proposals on topics relating to gender, sexuality and law. He is also open to projects that utilise critical and socio-legal methodologies. Alex has particular expertise in the areas of criminal law, human rights law, and international refugee law.


Alex's work draws predominantly on the work of Michel Foucault, as well as queer theorists such as Judith Butler, to analyse the relationship between legal apparatus and cultural discourses. However, Alex is also a trained qualitative interviewer, with expertise in narrative analysis approaches. As such, he seeks to bring together critical scholarship and empirical socio-legal research. His research comprises two main strands: The first deploys queer and post-structuralist methodologies to understand, critique, and evaluate the inter-relations of gender, "sexuality" and state administrative institutions. Alex's research within this strand particularly focuses on how state agencies, such as the Home Office, conceptualise sexual diversity and the forms of violence which can arise when this conceptualisation is not aligned with the self-conceptions of those coming into contact with the said state apparatus. The second strand focuses on how social and political discourses can shift, undermine, and alter the function of legal entities. For example, Alex's 2019 Book Chapter '"The Will of the People": The UK Constitution, (Parliamentary) Sovereignty and Brexit' looked at how the political discourses of public sovereignty emerging from the 2016 EU referendum may work to undermine the centrality of Parliamentary Sovereignty to the UK constitution. 

Research group membership

  • Alex is a member of the following School of Law Research Groups:
  • Critical Legal Perspectives on Law, Society, Gender and Diversity (Group Convenor)
  • Fundamental Rights, Equality and Diversity
  • Qualitative Socio-Legal Research
  • Applied Legal Theory
  • Crime and Criminal Justice

Research grants and awards

  • City Doctoral Studentship 2017-2020 (City, University of London)



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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

Socio-Legal Studies Assocation 

Society of Legal Studies 

Association of Law Teachers 


  • Powell A, Fletcher F, Ambivalent Advice: Models, Practitioners and Supporting LGBTIQA+  Asylum Seekers, Queer(y)ing Asylum Symposium, University of Nottingham, 14th November 2023
  • Powell A, Safe For Who?: A Queer Analysis of the First Safe Country Concept, Society of Legal Scholars Annual Confernece, 27 June - 30 June 2023
  • Powell A, The State of Play in 2023; Exploring the Impact of Shifting Asylum Policy on
    Sexually Diverse Asylum Claimants, Sexuality, Nationality and Asylum: The New Plan for Immigration Symposium, Oxford Brookes University, 14th June 2023
  • Powell A, '"First Safe Country": State Sponsored Fake Law?'. Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference, Ulster University, 4th- 6th April 2023. 
  • Powell A & Rifath R, 'Discrimination Under the New Plan for Asylum: The Case of Sexual and Gender Minorities'. Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference, Ulster University, 4th- 6th April 2023. 
  • Edge P & Powel A. '"Where Power is, Women are not?": A Reppraisal of the Manx Tynwald Since 2000. Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference, Ulster University, 4th- 6th April 2023. 
  • Ashford C & Powell A, ‘Viral Responsibility and PrEP Passports: Borders, Digital Exclusion and Sexual Citizenship’. Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference, University of York, 6th-8th April 2022
  • Edge P, Mackie C, Powell A, ‘Women in Manx Politics: Small Island Democracy’. Island Matters Webinar, The University of the Highlands and Islands, 3rd March 2022.
  • Powell A & Malagodi M, 'A Rose by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet: Third Gender and Constitutional Identity' SLSA Annual Conference, Cardiff University, 29 March- 1st April 2021
  • Malagodi M & Powell A, ‘A Rose by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet: Third Gender and Constitutional Identity in Nepal’ 8th Asian Constitutional Law Forum, Vietnam National University, 6th-7th December 2019
  • Powell A, ‘I Want the Proof, the Whole Proof and Nothing but the Proof: Authenticity and Credibility in Sexual Identity Asylum Claims.’ Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference, University of Leeds, 2-5 April 2019
  • Powell A, ‘Law and the Cultural Imaginary: A Queer Discursive Analysis of “Victim” (1961)’ Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference, University of Leeds 2-5 April 2019
  • Morris M & Powell A, ‘Queering “Reckless” Transmission: HIV Criminalization and Stigma in the Context of PrEP and TasP’ Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference, University of Bristol, 25-27 March 2018
  • Powell A, Queering “Credibility”: How Law Constructs the Truth of Sexual identity’ Queer Identities and Philosophy, Kings College London, 24-25 March 2018


Invited Lectures: 

  • Powell A, HIV Transmission the Criminal Law. Brickfields Asia College (2021) 
  • Powell A, Not Gay Enough? Violence, Asylum, and the Problem of Identity. Kingston University, London (2020)
  • Powell A, ‘Law and Its Victims: Representations of Sexual Minorities in Law and Film’. University of Hong Kong (2019)
  • Powell A, ‘Law and Its Victims: Representations of Sexual Minorities in Law and Film’. City, University of London (2018)

Further details

Alex currently acts as the Co-Covenor of the Migration and Asylum Stream of the Society of Legal Scholars: https://www.legalscholars.ac.uk/section/migration-law/