Iulia-Cristiana Vatau

DPhil Criminology

Other affiliations

St Hilda's College


Iulia's doctoral research focuses on investigating design differences in the implementation of drug treatment courts proceedings in the United States and Chile, particularly the application of non-adversarialist mindsets in judicial team-building. She subsequently seeks to illuminate the specific impact of such practices on the experiences of juvenile court participants. More specifically, Iulia wishes to examine the extent to which divergences in policy design offer protections against penal abuses and shape the kind of agency juveniles can display in relation to treatment and rehabilitation. By adopting a comparative perspective, this thesis aims to bring to the forefront insights from the Global South that can aid in the development of future policy initiatives. The research is conducted under the supervision of Professor Rachel Condry and is funded by the ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship.

Iulia holds a first class BA degree in History and Politics of the Americas from University College London and an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Oxford where she graduated with distinction. In line with her research interests, she advocates in favour of active youth participation in the making of drug policy at the United Nations. As a civil society representative, she serves as the UN Global Fellow for Students for Sensible Drug Policy and as an Executive Member of the New York NGO Committee on Drugs. In these positions, she has represented youth in civil society interventions at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs. She also worked with key stakeholders, including diplomatic delegations, UNODC officers and fellow advocates.

At the Oxford Centre for Criminology, Iulia currently co-convenes the Southernising Criminology Discussion Group, a student-led initiative which aims to extend criminological horizons outside the Global North, reflecting on distinct patterns of crime, justice, and punishment in jurisdictions historically situated at the periphery of knowledge production and theory formation.

Research Interests

Iulia’s academic interests are situated at the intersection of youth diversion, drug policy, therapeutic jurisprudence, and the geopolitics of criminological knowledge production. 

Research projects & programmes

Centre for Criminology Southernising Criminology