Bob Watt

Research Visitor, Academic Year 2017-2018


Bob Watt was a late entrant to academia.  He worked for 15 years as a technician for the late Michael Barry (St Johns) in Agricultural Science before taking voluntary redundancy to read for a degree in Law and Politics at (then) Oxford Polytechnic.  Whilst he originally intended to become a solicitor working for the trade union movement, Andrew Halpin opened his eyes to legal theory and, after graduating with a First and the Linnells’ Prize for Law , he read for the BCL at Balliol (1990).

Bob was appointed to a lectureship at the University of Essex where he was promoted to Reader and served a three year term as Head of School. At Essex he gained his Doctorate in Election Law and was offered a Chair at the University of Buckingham which he held for six years. His current and primary academic interest is Electoral Law and he has undertaken a great deal of practical research in the subject and has produced a major study for the Electoral Commission.  He worked closely with the applicants in the Tower Hamlets election petition and was recently engaged in work to uphold electoral law during the EU Referendum Campaign, extensively cited in the UK Law Commissions’ work on the revision of electoral law.

Bob will spend the year at the Bonavero Institute working on proposals for changes to the electoral laws of the United Kingdom, particularly in the light of international comparators and international human rights standards. He lives in Milton Keynes with his wife; they have two adult children and Bob has a son.

Bob has also been appointed as Visiting Fellow of Mansfield College during his visit to Oxford.