Michèle Olivier joined the University of Hull as a reader in February 2012. She obtained the LLB and BA (Hons) (Political Science) degrees from the University of Pretoria in 1986. She then completed her article clerkship and was subsequently admitted as an attorney in South Africa in 1989. In the same year she obtained an MA degree in Political Studies on the relativity of human rights in African states, from the Rand Afrikaans University.
She was appointed by the Department of Foreign Affairs in South Africa as a State Law Adviser in the Office of the State Law Adviser (International Law) in 1989 and is admitted as an advocate. An LLM degree in Public International Law was conferred on her in 1991 by the University of Pretoria. In 1995 she was promoted to the position of Principal State Law Adviser in the Department of Foreign Affairs, where she represented the South African government in the negotiating of treaties, participated in various committees of the United Nations and provided international law advice to the South African government.
In 1999 she was appointed as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Public Law at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. An LLD degree was conferred on her by the University of South Africa in 2002. The research focused on the status and implementation of international law in South African law. Before relocating to the United Kingdom in 2009, she was a professor in the Department of Public Law at the University of Pretoria (2002 – 2009).
She was a visiting scholar to the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2001 and one of eight members of the Technical Committee of Constitutional Experts responsible for the drafting of the South African Constitution of 1993. She has acted as a consultant to the African Peer Review Mechanism (ARPM) of the Africa Union in respect of Malawi, Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa.
Since relocating to the United Kingdom in September 2009, she has been appointed as a visiting professor in the School of Business and Law at the University of Lincoln and a visiting researcher in the Law School at the University of Leeds (2011-2012). She was a member of the International Law Association’s working group on Non State Actors.