Roxana is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Criminology and a Junior Research Fellow in Law at University College. Roxana’s research examines the intersection of social class, mental disorder, and youth offending, building on her doctoral findings, which assessed the role of language in working-class disputes. Before starting the postdoc, Roxana was awarded a DPhil in Law from the University of Oxford, an LLM in International Economic Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and an LLB in Law with European Legal Studies from the University of Kent at Canterbury. In addition to research, Roxana has co-founded a pro bono law chambers in Cameroon, sponsored by Allen and Overy, and managed several international mental health public engagement projects. Roxana’s teaching interests include criminal law, crime policy, restorative justice, land law, and jurisprudence.


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  • R Willis, A Precarious Life: Understanding Class, Race, and Conflict in a Deindustralised Town (OUP 2019) (forthcoming)
  • Bright, Weatherall and R Willis, 'Exploring the complexities of energy retrofit in mixed tenure social housing: a case study from England, UK' (2018) Energy Efficiency 1
    DOI: 10.1007/s12053-018-9676-y
    Article 19 of the Energy Efficiency Directive requires EU member states to address split incentives for energy efficiency between the multiple owners of buildings. But, building governance has been relatively neglected by researchers and policy makers working on Europe’s trajectory to a highly energy-efficient building stock. Taking a socio-legal approach, this paper illustrates the complexities that occur with retrofit of mixed tenure (social and private) apartment blocks and, more broadly, how building governance is a determinant of the costs and outcomes of refurbishment projects. Forty-two percent of Europeans live in apartments and mixed tenure apartment blocks and neighbourhoods have become more prevalent in Europe in recent decades. The paper focuses on a detailed study of a large refurbishment project of five tower blocks by Oxford City Council, involving external wall insulation and other energy efficiency measures. In addition to the Council’s social tenants, these blocks house significant numbers of private owners who have challenged the Council’s attempt to recover from them a share of the refurbishment costs. The experience of the Oxford project raises questions about aspects of property law, allocation of project costs and benefits, and issues of communication, engagement and decision-making. The paper also presents qualitative data gathered from social housing providers through a survey and roundtable meeting to provide an indication of the extent to which these issues are affecting energy efficiency refurbishment projects across England.
  • R Willis, 'A Comparative Analysis of Widow Dispossession in Francophone and Anglophone Cameroon' (2018) 62 Journal of African Law 147
    Widows throughout sub-Saharan Africa may be at risk from dispossession when their husbands pass away. Whereas some scholars view widow dispossession as prevalent and global, others suggest that the issue is less common than claimed. This article contributes to understanding about the frequency of, and reasons for, widow dispossession through an empirical investigation of widowhood in Cameroon. By adopting a comparative method, working with similar groups in both francophone and anglophone regions, it presents preliminary findings. These findings include a higher awareness of widow dispossession in anglophone areas compared to francophone samples. Moreover, notably fewer marriages are legally registered in the anglophone dataset, compared to the francophone group, which may place anglophone widows at greater risk of dispossession. The article then assesses the impact of custom, religion, civil law and common law on the findings. In conclusion, it recommends the need for a holistic consideration of land rights.
  • R Willis, '‘Let’s talk about it’: Why social class matters to restorative justice' (2018) Criminology and Criminal Justice
    Communication is universal to human beings, regardless of gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality, disability and so forth. But though communication is a shared capacity, individuals and groups communicate in diverse ways. This study investigates how specifically social class influences participation in scripted restorative justice by affecting how participants communicate. Data from an ethnographic study indicate that restorative justice implementation is not class-neutral because it appears to privilege middle-class forms of communication, and participants from middle-class backgrounds may therefore be more powerfully positioned in restorative justice processes than participants from less advantaged backgrounds. To show this, a comparative methodology is adopted, which involves ethnographic observation and critical discussion of two contrasting restorative justice conferences. The implications of class-based linguistic disadvantage for restorative justice theory are subsequently discussed. The author recommends that restorative justice commits itself to an equality of opportunity which allows stakeholders to participate fully irrespective of their class background.
  • R Willis, 'Observations online: Finding the ethical boundaries of Facebook research ' (2017) Research Ethics
    Informed consent may be unobtainable in online contexts. This article examines the difficulties of obtaining informed consent online through a Facebook case study. It is proposed that there are at least two ways informed consent could be waived in research: first, if the data are public, and second, if the data are textual. Accordingly, the publicness of the Facebook News Feed is considered. Taking account of the wide availability of Facebook users’ data, and reflecting on how public those users perceive their information to be, this paper argues that some Facebook data are properly viewed as public to semi-public in nature. A second issue is whether the Facebook News Feed data collection ought to be classified as document-based or human subjects research. Since the Facebook News Feed involves social interaction that may elicit ‘ethically important moments’, this paper proposes that observing it may constitute human subjects research. While informed consent is desirable for human subjects research, it is suggested that Facebook News Feed observations are comparable to observational research in a public space, and thus waiving informed consent in this online setting could be justifiable.
  • Hoyle and R Willis, 'The challenge of integrating restorative justice into the “deep-end” of criminal justice: A case study from Northamptonshire, UK' in Blomberg, T. et al. (ed), Advancing Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy (Routledge 2016)
  • R Willis, 'Three Approaches to Community in Restorative Justice' (2016) 4 Restorative Justice: An International Journal 1
    Restorative justice involves three categories of stakeholder: victims, offenders and community. Despite the apparent importance of community, what is meant by ‘community’ has received limited attention in restorative justice to date. This article contributes to efforts to bridge this gap by critically examining approaches to community in the restorative justice literature, in the context of wider theoretical community debates. Three approaches to community are identified: the community-of-care approach, which emphasises relational ties; the community-of-place approach, which emphasises geographical locality; and the danger of community, which highlights a dark side to community. The practical application of this theoretical framework is then demonstrated through an exploratory case study of a young person’s experiences with a Youth Offender Team in England. By sharing an individual case study of multiple forms of restorative justice, and the effects of different approaches to community engagement, it is hoped this research will appeal to practitioners and academics alike.


Research projects

Research Interests

Social class, mental disorder, youth offending, restorative justice, criminal law, land law

Options taught

Criminal Law (Mods)

Research projects