The Catholic University of America

Geoffrey R. Watson

Geoffrey R. Watson was born in Toronto, Canada, but he grew up in the northeast United States. He attended college at Yale, from which he received a B.A. cum laude in history in 1982. He then enrolled at Harvard Law School, where he was a notes editor of the Harvard Law Review. He received his J.D. cum laude in 1986. After graduating from law school, Professor Watson served as a law clerk to the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Harrison L. Winter, in Baltimore.

From 1987-1991, Professor Watson served as an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. While at the State Department, Professor Watson specialized in international criminal law and in legal aspects of U.S. policy in the Middle East. In 1991 he became an assistant professor of law at the University of Puget Sound School of Law (now the Seattle University School of Law) in Tacoma, Washington. He came to CUA as a visiting associate professor in 1995, and he joined the full-time faculty in 1998. Professor Watson is the author of numerous articles on public international law. In addition, he has published a book on the Oslo Accords and co-authored a book on American contract law. He has taught contracts, criminal law, constitutional law, public international law, international human rights law, comparative law, comparative constitutional law, legal issues of the Middle East peace process, and the history of American law.             


Research and Writing


"The Capability Problem in Contract Law" (2nd edition) (with Richard Danzig). (New York: Foundation Press, 2004.)
"The Oslo Accords: International Law and the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreements," (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.)


Secularism Resurrected? The European Court of Human Rights after Lautsii,” in Douglas Kmiec, ed., Secularism Crucified (Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies) (forthcoming 2014).
"The Persecution of Tom Riddle: A Study in Human Rights Law," in The Law & Harry Potter, ed. Jeffrey E. Thomas & Franklyn G. Snyder. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2010.
"EU Accession to the European Convention on Human Rights: An American Perspective," in European Union Issues from a Portuguese Perspective, ed. Marshall J. Breger and Markus G. Puder. Washington, DC: Columbus School of Law Studies in Comparative Law, Columbus School of Law, 2007.
"Jerusalem and the U.S. Congress," in Jerusalem: Essays Toward Peacekeeping.  Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2002.
"The Law of State Succession." In Contemporary Practice in Public International Law. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana, 1997. 



Victor Kattan, "From Coexistence to Conquest: International Law and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1891-1948", 105 American Journal of International Law 625 (2011).
Gabriella Blum, "Islands of Agreement: Managing Enduring Armed Rivalries", 103 American Journal of International Law 803 (2009).
"Review Essay: Study-Aids and Treatises for American Students of International Law," American Journal of International Law 99 (Oct. 2005): 932.
"A Casebook for All Seasons?" Seattle University Law Review 20 (Winter 1997): 277 (reviewing Farnsworth et al., “Contracts: Cases & Materials”).
"Or a Treaty of the United States: The Alien Tort Statute after Kiobel," (forthcoming 2013).
“The Fun of Teaching American Legal History,” 53 Am. J. Legal History (forthcoming October 2013).
Comment, Mara'abe v. Prime Minister of Israel, 100 Am. J. Int'l L. 895 (2006).
"The 'Wall' Cases in Legal and Political Context", American Journal of International Law 99 (Jan. 2005): 6.
"The Changing Jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia", New England Law Review 37 (2003): 871.
"Overview and Remarks: Religious and Social Ethical Perspectives on International Law: The Middle East Peace Process", Proceedings of the 95th Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law 95 (2001): 87.
"Comparative Peace Agreements: the Oslo Accords," in Proceedings of the 94th Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law (Sept. 2000).
"The OECD Bribery Convention." A.S.I.L. Insight (Spring 1998): 1.
"Progress for Pilgrims: An Analysis of the Holy See-Israel Fundamental Agreement." Catholic University Law Review 47 (Spring 1998): 497.
"In the Tribunal of Conscience: Mills v. Wyman Reconsidered." Tulane Law Review 71 (June 1997): 1749.
"The Humanitarian Law of the Yugoslavia War Crimes Tribunal: Jurisdiction in Prosecutor v. Tadic." Virginia Journal of International Law 36 (Spring 1996): 687.
"The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995." Catholic University Law Review 45 (Spring 1996): 837.
"The ICJ and the Lawfulness of the Use of Nuclear Weapons." ASIL Insight: Newsletter of the American Society of International Law (June-August 1995): 1.
"The Death of Treaty." Ohio State Law Journal 55 (October 1994): 781.
"Preface: Symposium on Pacific Rim Trade." University of Puget Sound Law Review 17 (Spring 1994): 503.
"Constitutionalism, Judicial Review, and the World Court." Harvard International Law Journal 34 (Winter 1993): 1.
"The Passive Personality Principle." Texas International Law Journal 28 (Winter 1993): 1.
"Offenders Abroad: The Case for Nationality-Based Criminal Jurisdiction." Yale Journal of International Law 17 (Winter 1992): 41.
"Jerusalem", in 1 Cumulative Digest of U.S. Practice in International Law: 1981-88, at 478-86 (1988) (co-authored with Marian Nash Leich.
"Comment: Zauderer v. Office of Disciplinary Counsel." Harvard Law Review 99 (November 1985): 193.
"Note: Exit Polls and the First Amendment." Harvard Law Review 98 (June 1985): 1927.  


In His Words ...

"I strive for intellectual rigor and professionalism in my classroom – but I also believe that learning should be fun. For example, I demonstrate a particular point of contract law by juggling erasers. What other law school offers that?"

– Geoffrey R. Watson


Office: 477 Law School
The Catholic University of America
3600 John McCormack Rd., NE
Washington, D.C. 20064

Phone: 202-319-5978



  • Contracts
  • Public International Law
  • History of Early American Law
  • History of Modern American Law
  • International Human Rights Law
  • International Criminal Law
  • Legal Aspects of the Middle East Peace Process


Harvard Law School, cum laude  

Yale University, cum laude 


Areas of Expertise

  • Public International Law
  • Legal Aspects of the Middle East Peace Process
  • History of American Law


  • Law clerk, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Harrison L. Winter, in Baltimore.
  • Attorney-adviser, Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. State Department, 1987-91
  • Seattle University Law School, 1991-95