Professor Dawn Watkins

School of Law

Professor of Law

Project Lead: Project FORTITUDE

Staff photo of Dawn Watkins
Profile picture of Staff photo of Dawn Watkins
+44 114 222 6827

Full contact details

Professor Dawn Watkins
School of Law
Bartolomé House
Winter Street
S3 7ND

Dawn joined the School of Law here in Sheffield on 1 January 2022. She was previously a Professor of Law at the University of Leicester, where she had worked since 2005. Dawn is a qualified Solicitor but left legal practice soon after qualifying to pursue a PhD in Law.

Whilst at Leicester she was awarded a Distinguished Teaching Fellowship and short-listed for the National Law Teacher of the Year award. She was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2017.

In 2014-16 Dawn secured a £250,000 grant from the ESRC to explore children’s understanding of law in their everyday lives, using a digital game ‘Adventures with Lex’ created by the research team to gather research data.

This provided the proof of concept for her current project FORTITUDE, funded by a €2 million grant from the ERC, which aims to work with to improve children’s legal capability. The project will provide a range of game-based resources that will improve the lives of children by providing them with opportunities to improve their legal capabilities, as well as providing a framework for the development of these resources in other populations.

In addition to her academic work, Dawn sits as a Fee-Paid Judge of the First Tier Tribunal, assigned to the Health, Education and Social Care Chamber.


PhD (Law) University of Leicester

Research interests
  • Children and the Law
  • Gamification of Research Methods
  • Law and Narrative


Edited books

Journal articles


  • Burton M & Watkins D (2020) Interdisciplinary approaches and collaboration in legal education in England and Wales, Key Directions in Legal Education: National and International Perspectives (pp. 35-47). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Cammiss S & Watkins D (2017) Legal research in the humanities, Research Methods in Law (pp. 86-102). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Cammiss S & Watkins D (2013) Legal research in the humanities, Research Methods in Law (pp. 71-84). RIS download Bibtex download

Conference proceedings papers

Research group

Title/Description: Project FORTITUDE

  • Awarding Body: European Research Council
  • People Involved: Collaborating with Professor Clare Wood, NTU
  • Dates: 1 January 2022 to 31 May 2025
  • Amount (EUR): c. 2 million euros

Title/Description: Law in Children's Lives

  • Awarding Body: ESRC
  • Dates: 2014-2016
Teaching interests
  • The role of narrative and metaphor in teaching
  • Law and story-telling
  • Property law
  • Children and the law
Teaching activities

Module I teach:


  • Property Law
  • Children and the Law
Professional activities and memberships

Editorial Board of the Law Teacher Journal