Centre for Empirical Legal Studies


Tribunal Decision-Making Research Programme
Directed by Professor Dame Hazel Genn and Professor Cheryl Thomas

Welcome to the Tribunals Research Website

Tribunals play a vital role in the administrative justice system, resolving over 1 million disputes a year between individuals and the state, yet little is known about what influences tribunal decision-making. To coincide with the establishment of the new Tribunals Service, the Empirical Legal Studies Centre has developed a new programme of research on tribunal decision-making.  A crucial issue of concern in recent years has been the value of oral hearings and whether the type of hearing affects a claimant's chance of a positive outcome.  The Nuffield Foundation has awarded Professors Genn and Thomas a major research grant to examine tribunal decision-making in the Social Entitlement Chamber. The research project uses an innovative and rigorous methodology to tackle the problem of determining what the use and value of oral hearings are in tribunal proceedings. This research builds on the previous successful tribunal research of Professor Genn and the previous successful judicial decision-making research of Professor Thomas.   Future projects will address a number of other factors in relation to tribunal decision-making, such as representation, the impact of expert witnesses, adversarial vs inquisitorial approaches, claimant background, and tribunal composition.


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