Professor Thomas is the country's leading expert on juries. She has pioneered the study of jury decision-making in the criminal courts this country, using an innovative approach that combines case simulation with real jurors at Crown Courts, large-scale analysis of actual jury verdicts and post-verdict interviews with jurors. Her groundbreaking study, Diversity and Fairness in the Jury System (2007), was the first study ever conducted in this country on race and jury decision-making and the first study in over 15 years on the representative nature of jury service in England and Wales .
The recently published follow-up study, Are Juries Fair? (2010), tackles sensitive and controversial issues about the fairness of jury decision-making for the first time in this country. It examines whether all-White juries discriminate against Black and minority ethnic defendants, whether juries rarely convict on certain offences or at certain courts, whether jurors understand legal directions, are aware of media coverage of their cases or look for information on the internet about their cases during trial. The empirical study involved over 1000 serving jurors in three areas of the country and over 68,000 jury verdicts across all Crown Courts in England and Wales .
Professor Thomas has served as a specialist consultant on judicial affairs to the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity, Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, the European Commission, French government, Judicial Studies Board, Council of Europe, Lord Chancellor, and former Commission for Judicial Appointments. As well as an academic, she is also a documentary filmmaker and has produced programmes for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Discovery and PBS.
She is currently conducting new judicial decision-making research on tribunal decision-making funded by the Nuffield Foundation and conducted in cooperation with the Tribunals Service.
D.Phil. in law and politics from Oxford University , M.Phil. in politics from Oxford University , BA in political science from Syracuse University .
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