I am the Shaw Foundation Fellow in Law at Lincoln College, Oxford. I was formerly a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Faculty of Law and Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Law at Christ Church, Oxford. I hold an LLB with First Class Honours from the University of Edinburgh and MSc, MA, and DPhil degrees from the University of Oxford. I work on topics at the intersection of criminal law, criminal justice, and jurisprudence.

My first book, Respect and Criminal Justice, was published in 2020 by Oxford University Press. It offers the first sustained examination of 'respect' in policing and imprisonment in England and Wales, where the value is elusive but of persisting significance. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, I am currently writing a second book entitled Just Words? Ethics and the Language of Criminal Justice. It charts the gradual shift towards an ethical vocabulary in criminal justice in recent decades, and examines how terms such as 'fairness', 'humanity', 'hope', 'decency', 'dignity', and 'justice' shape the process of calling individuals to account for their alleged wrongdoing. I have given invited talks on these topics in Oxford, Cambridge, and Berlin.

At undergraduate level, I teach the core papers in Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, and Jurisprudence, and convene the optional paper on the Philosophy of Punishment. At postgraduate level, I contribute to the optional paper in Advanced and Comparative Criminal Law. I am strongly committed to access and widening participation at Oxford, and welcome enquiries from Law applicants from non-selective state schools and colleges, and those with no prior exposure to the system.

In Spring 2019, I was elected to the Inaugural Visiting Fellowship in Law at the newly instituted Cambridge Centre for Criminal Justice. In Autumn 2021, I will return to Cambridge to take up Visiting Fellowships at the Centre for Penal Theory and Penal Ethics and at Downing College.



Selected publications

Other (4)

Book (1)

Journal Article (1)

Report (1)

G Watson, 'Ageing Prisoners: Review of the International Literature Commissioned by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland' (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland 2016)

Review (1)

Research programmes

Research Interests

  • Criminal law and justice
  • Philosophy of law, and especially of punishment

Options taught

Jurisprudence, Criminal Law (Mods), Constitutional Law (Mods)

Research projects