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Dr Gabrielle Watson

Dr Gabrielle Watson

  • Shaw Foundation Fellow in Law


I joined Lincoln College, Oxford in 2019 as the Shaw Foundation Fellow in Law.

I was formerly an undergraduate at Edinburgh (LLB) and postgraduate at Oxford (MA, MSc, DPhil) under the supervision of Professor Ian Loader FBA. I subsequently held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship in the Faculty of Law and Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Law at Christ Church, Oxford under the mentorship of Professor Lucia Zedner FBA (2017-19).

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

College teaching

At Lincoln College, I teach the core papers in Criminal Law (Law Moderations), Constitutional Law (Law Moderations), and Jurisprudence (Finals). In the Faculty of Law, I convene the optional paper on the Philosophy of Punishment (Finals), and contribute to the new course in Advanced and Comparative Criminal Law (BCL/MJur).

I am strongly committed to access and outreach activities at Oxford, and welcome enquiries from Law applicants from non-selective state schools and colleges, and those with no prior exposure to the system.


I work on topics at the intersection of criminal law, criminal justice, and jurisprudence. My first book, Respect and Criminal Justice, was published in June 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 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.

Select publications

In preparation (2020): a review article on Fassin’s The Will to Punish for the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies and invited reviews for Criminal Law and Philosophy, and the Howard Journal of Crime and Justice.

Respect and Criminal Justice (2020). Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

‘Reducing Female Admissions to Custody: Exploring the Options at Sentencing’ (2017) Criminology and Criminal Justice 17(5) 546-567 (with Julian V Roberts).

‘Review of Michael J Coyle, Talking Criminal Justice: Language and the Just Society’ (2015) Theoretical Criminology 19(3) 445-448.