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 (First Class) from the University of Edinburgh and MSc (Distinction), MA (Honorary), 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 by Oxford University Press in 2020 and was the winner of the Policing Book Prize of the European Society of Criminology 2021. It has received the following reviews: ‘An imaginative, sensitive, and finely-textured interpretation’ Nicola Lacey CBE FBA (LSE) for Oxford University Press | ‘Refreshingly original and bold… work of outstanding quality’ Justice Tankebe (Cambridge) for Oxford University Press | ‘A significant contribution to the field... an indispensable reference’ Loraine Gelsthorpe and Kyle Treiber (Cambridge) General Editors’ Introduction | Admirably far-reaching [and] rigorous… an impressive debut’ David Hayes (Sheffield) for Criminology and Criminal Justice | ‘Highly innovative... Watson elaborates path-breaking perspectives’ Executive Committee of the European Society of Criminology

Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, I am currently writing a second book entitled Just Words? Ethics and the Language of Criminal Justice. I am also working on a project on the ethics of pleading guilty for Hart Bloomsbury and collaborating with the Sentencing Academy, a London-based institute dedicated to developing expert and public understanding of sentencing in England and Wales. 

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 as a Visiting Fellow in Law at the CCCJ and at Downing College.


Selected publications

Presentation/Conference contribution (6)

G Watson, 'The Guilty Plea and Self-Respect', paper presented at Guilty Plea and Sentencing Seminar, University of Oxford (2022) (invited talk)
G Watson, 'Ethical Perspectives on the Guilty Plea', paper presented at Assize Seminar in Cutting-Edge Criminal Law hosted by the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, University College London, and the Criminal Bar Association (2021) (invited talk)
G Watson, 'Keywords: Ethical Discourse and Criminal Justice', paper presented at Centre for Penal Theory and Penal Ethics, University of Cambridge (2019) (invited talk)
G Watson, 'Respect', paper presented at Key Legal Concepts at the Intersection of Law, History, and Literature, Freie Universität Berlin (2018) (invited talk)
G Watson, 'Respect', paper presented at Conceptual Convergences: Juridical and Textual Understanding, University of Oxford and Freie Universität Berlin (2018) (invited talk)

Chapter (1)

G Watson, 'The Guilty Plea and Self-Respect' in JV Roberts and J Ryberg (eds), Pleading Guilty: New Perspectives on the Ethics of Self-Conviction (Oxford: Hart Bloomsbury 2022) (forthcoming)

Report (3)

G Watson, 'Legitimacy and Respect at Sentencing: Current Research and Future Possibilities' (London: Sentencing Academy 2021) (forthcoming)
G Watson, 'Sentencing Historic Crime' (London: Sentencing Academy 2021) (forthcoming)
G Watson, 'Ageing Prisoners: Review of the International Literature Commissioned by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland' (Edinburgh: Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland 2016)

Journal Article (2)

Review (2)

Other (1)

Book (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), Advanced and Comparative Criminal Law

Research projects