Menu Close
Senior Lecturer in Criminal Justice, University of Cape Town

Kelly Phelps is a senior lecturer in the Public Law Department at the University of Cape Town. She holds a BA in English literature and Anthropology (2000) and a BSocSci (Hons) in Criminology (2001) from the University of Cape Town and a BA Law (2004) and MA (2008) from the University of Cambridge. Her undergraduate teaching interests are Criminal Law and Punishment and the Constitution. At Postgraduate level she has taught Criminal Process to Criminology to Honours students and Punishment and Human Rights to LLM and Mphil students. She is the convenor of the postgraduate programme in Criminology, Law and Society. She researches and publishes on constitutional criminal adjudication, sexual offences and sentencing. From 2006 - 2010 she was Assistant Editor of the South African Journal of Criminal Justice. She has been ans expert assessor for various accredited journals including South African Journal of Human Rights, South African Journal of Criminal Justice and international journals Social Problems and Malawi Law Journal. Before joining UCT Kelly was a freelance criminological researcher at NGO's, including SAYStOP (South African Young Sex Offenders Project) and Gun Free South Africa, and worked as research assistant to Prof Dirk van Zyl Smit and Prof Elrena van der Spuy (Institute of Criminology, UCT). In 2005 she assisted the Legal Resources Centre in Cape Town with their Richtersveld land-claim litigation. She was special advisory commissioner for South African Law Reform Commission Project 25 on Statutory Law Reform in 2007. Phelps has provided opinions and interviews on various criminal justice matters including acting as a legal analyst for CNN on the Oscar Pistorius case in 2013. She is a candidate for a PhD in criminal Justice at UCT.


  • –present
    Senior lecturer in criminal justice, University of Cape Town


  • 2011
    Chapter 2: Section 3, The Sexual Offences Commentary 2011
  • 2008
    A dangerous precedent indeed – A response to CR Snyman’s Note on Masiya v DPP, The South African Law Journal

Grants and Contracts

  • 2018
    Senior Lecturer in Criminal Justice
    Funding Source:
    National Research Foundation