Centre for Empirical Legal Studies


Judicial Appointments and Training Research Programme
Directed by Professor Cheryl Thomas

Welcome to the Judicial Appointments and Training Research Website

This research programme examines the impact of the judicial appointment process on the composition and perception of the judiciary in various jurisdictions, as well as growing demands from judicial education and training programmes alongside the rise in assessment and evaluation schemes for both judges and courts in many jurisdictions. The programme draws on Professor Thomas’ recent work in this field, including the first empirical study of the judicial appointment process to be conducted in this country, a review of judicial diversity, and a review of judicial training in numerous common and civil law jurisdictions. 

Research currently being conducted in this programme includes a study of the changing education, recruitment and evaluation needs of judges in Europe, which has been commissioned by the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) of the Council of Europe.  Judges in all European countries face increasing demands on both their efficiency and legitimacy, growing out of the rapidly changing legal environment in which judges now work.  Increasing caseloads and public demands for justice, as well as the increasing complexity of laws and legal issues, and the internationalisation of issues brought before the courts have all increased the demand and need for judicial training in both common law and civil law jurisdictions in Europe.  Media scrutiny of judicial decisions, demands for courts to be more accessible to citizens and the growing introduction of quality control measures for the judiciary also require judges to learn new skills beyond the traditional legal skills of rule implementation and interpretation (for instance, training in management and public relations skills). The process of European integration also places special demands on judges to develop skills in new legal areas, for instance in implementing the European Arrest Warrant, and skills to enable them to communicate and work cooperatively with their judicial counterparts in other European countries.  The project’s preliminary report provides a framework for evaluating judicial training in individual countries.  Further work is now being done to assess the relationship between judicial training models and judicial performance among judiciaries in Europe.

For queries or further information about the project please contact Professor Cheryl Thomas cheryl.thomas@ucl.ac.uk