Legal Luminary Profile: Prof. Damilola S. Olawuyi, SAN – Youngest Academic to Be Elevated to the Rank


Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, SAN is a Professor of Law and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics, Research Innovation & Strategic Partnerships at Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. He became a Professor of Law at the age of 32, becoming one of Nigeria’s youngest professors of law in history. Also, in recognition of his “substantial contribution to legal scholarship and jurisprudence,” Professor Olawuyi was awarded the rank of  Senior Advocate of Nigeria in the year 2020, at the age of 37, therefore becoming the youngest academic ever elevated to the rank, and the very first graduate of a private university to become Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

An indigene of Igbajo Town in Boluwaduro Local Government Area of Osun State, Prof. Olawuyi was born in Ibadan and had his early education at INRI Nursery and Primary School, Ibadan and completed his secondary school education at Igbinedion Secondary School, Benin City, where he sat for and excelled in his West African School Certificate Examination in 2000. Thereafter, he proceeded to Igbinedion University, Okada, Nigeria where he graduated with a first-class degree in law at the age of 21, and was named overall best graduating student and University Valedictorian in 2005. The following year, he graduated with first-class honours  at the Nigerian Law School.

In 2007, he was awarded a Government of Alberta Scholarship enabling him to study at the University of Calgary, Canada, where he obtained the degree of Master of Laws in natural resources, energy and environmental law in 2008. He also received a Graduate Scholarship from Harvard University, where he obtained the degree of Master of Laws in international law and sustainable development (2009). Thereafter, he completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Law degree at Keble College, Oxford.

A prolific and highly regarded scholar, Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, SAN has practiced and taught law in Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. He has served as a visiting professor at Columbia Law School, New York, China University of Political Science and Law and senior visiting research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. In 2019, he was a Herbert Smith Freehills visiting professor at Cambridge University. He was formerly an international energy lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP where he served on the firm’s global committee on energy investments in Africa. He has delivered lectures on energy law in over 40 countries. He was also formerly deputy director and head of international environmental law at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, Waterloo, Canada.

Professor Olawuyi has published over 100 influential peer-reviewed articles, books, and reports on energy finance, sustainable development law and extractive resource governance. His most recent book publications are: Extractives Industry Law in Africa (Springer 2018) and The Human Rights Based Approach to Carbon Finance (Cambridge University Press, 2016), which has been described by The Rt. Hon the Lord Jonathan Hugh Mance of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom as one of the most important contributions to international law.

Professor Olawuyi serves on the executive committees and boards of several organizations. He is Vice Chair of the International Law Association globally; co-chair of the Africa Interest Group of the American Society of International Law (2016-2019); and member of the Academic Advisory Group of the International Bar Association’s Section on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law (SEERIL). He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy.

In 2018, he was appointed as an expert Member of the Federal Technical Committee on National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency Bill, Committee on Environment and Habitat, Federal House of Representatives, Government of Nigeria, Abuja.

Professor Olawuyi is happily married with children. He loves travelling and is passionate about football and supports Manchester United and the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

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