Centre for Criminal Law

Centre for Criminal Law


Vice Dean (Research)
Professor of Judicial Studies
Director, UCL Jury Project, Co-Director, UCL Judicial Institute

contact details:
phone: +44 (0)20 7679 1402 | internal: x21402
email: cheryl.thomas@ucl.ac.uk
Office hours: Tuesdays 14:30 - 15:30
Assistant to the Dean's Team: Helena Zara
phone: +44 (0)20 7679 1412 | internal: x21412
Judicial Institute Manager: Maria Diaz
phone: +44 (0)20 7679 1428 | internal: x21428

Cheryl Thomas is Professor of Judicial Studies; this is the first chair in judicial studies in the United Kingdom. She is also Director of the UCL Jury Project and Co-Director of the UCL Judicial Institute (with Professor Dame Hazel Genn). A specialist in judicial studies, she has conducted ground-breaking research in the United Kingdom and other jurisdictions on juries, judicial decision-making, the role of diversity in the justice system, and the appointment and training of judges.

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 .

Recent Publications

  • Thomas, C. (2010) Are Juries Fair?, London : Ministry of Justice
  • Thomas, C. (2008) Exposing the Myths of Jury Service , Criminal Law Review, Volume 415.
  • Thomas, C., with Balmer, N.J. (2007) Diversity and Fairness in the Jury System, London : Ministry of Justice
  • Thomas, C. (2007) Tribunals: Testing Ground for Diversity , Tribunals Journal (Winter)
  • Thomas, C. with Balmer, N.J and Lane, A. (2006) Judicial Diversity and the Appointment of Deputy District Judges , London : Commission for Judicial Appointments
  • Thomas, C. (2006) Difference in Diversity , Tribunals Journal (Spring)
  • Thomas, C. (2006) Judicial Training and Education in Other Jurisdictions , London : Judicial Studies Board.
  • Thomas, C. (2005) Judicial Diversity in the United Kingdom and Other Jurisdictions: A Review of Research, Policy and Practices , London : Commission for Judicial Appointments.
  • Thomas, C. (ed.) (2002) of C. Guarnieri and P. Pederzoli, The Power of Judges , Oxford : Oxford University Press.

See information on the Centre for Empirical Legal Studies at UCL

This page last modified 23 January, 2014 by Laws Webmaster