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Dr Gabrielle Watson

Dr Gabrielle Watson

  • Shaw Foundation Fellow in Law


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.

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 the CCCJ and take up a Visiting Fellowship at Downing College.

College teaching

At Lincoln College, I teach the core undergraduate papers in Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, and Jurisprudence. In the Faculty of Law, I convene the optional undergraduate paper in the Philosophy of Punishment and contribute to the optional postgraduate 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 higher education.


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. 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 the terms ‘fairness’, ‘humanity’, ‘hope’, ‘decency’, ‘dignity’, and ‘justice’ shape the process of calling individuals to account for their alleged wrongdoing. I am also involved in a project on the ethics of pleading guilty led by Julian Roberts (Oxford) and Jesper Ryberg (Denmark).

Select publications

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)

G Watson, 'Ethics at Sentencing, Guilty Pleas, and the Case for Respect' (2021) 2 Current Sentencing Practice News 6

G Watson, Respect and Criminal Justice (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press 2020)

JV Roberts and G Watson, 'Reducing Female Admissions to Custody: Exploring the Options at Sentencing' (2017) 17 Criminology and Criminal Justice 546