Honorary Professor

MA, LLB, BA (by decree), MA, DPhil, DCL, LLD, LLD honoris causa

  • Tel:
  • Email:


Professor Alan Watson is Honorary Professor at the School of Law, University of Edinburgh, and Distinguished Research Professor and Ernest P. Rogers Chair Emeritus at the University of Georgia School of Law. He is one of the world's foremost authorities on Roman law, comparative law, legal history, and law and religion. Among the honorary doctorates held by Professor Watson is that of LL.D. from the University of Edinburgh, where he held the chair of Civil Law, 1968-1980.

A prolific scholar and a polyglot, Alan Watson has nearly 150 books and articles to his credit, and his books have been translated into a variety of languages. Selected scholarship includes the revolutionary books Legal Transplants: An Approach to Comparative Law (1974), and Society and Legal Change (1977) as well as The Evolution of Western Private Law (2000), Jesus and the Jews: The Pharisaic Tradition in John (1995), Ancient Law and Modern Understanding: At the Edges (1998), Sources of Law, Legal Change, and Ambiguity (2d ed., 1998), Legal History and a Common Law for Europe (2001), Authority of Law; and Law (2003), and The Shame of American Legal Education (2005). His articles include "Law Out of Context" in The Edinburgh Law Review (2000) and "Fox Hunting, Pheasant Shooting and Comparative Law" in the American Journal of Comparative Law (2000).

Alan Watson was recognised in 2000-01 when two collections of essays were presented in his honour: an American volume, Lex et Romanitas: Essays for Alan Watson, and the European volume, Critical Studies in Ancient Law, Comparative Law & Legal History. Alan Watson has regularly served as a distinguished lecturer at leading universities in the United States and in such countries as Italy, Holland, Germany, France, Poland, South Africa, Israel and Yugoslavia. He has attended several sessions regarding the development of a common law for the EU, including one in Maastricht in 2000, and, at the request of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), served as a member of the two-person U.S. team helping to revise the draft civil code for the new Republic of Armenia.

Alan Watson is North American secretary of the Stair Society. He is an editorial board member for the Juridical Review, Journal of Legal History, the Journal of Comparative Law, the Belgrade Law Journal, IURA, the European Lawyer Journal and the American Journal of Legal History.

If you wish to contact Professor Watson, please do so through Professor John W. Cairns: john.cairns@ed.ac.uk