Centre for Empirical Legal Studies


Research Projects

The Centre for Empirical Legal Studies is a major centre for interdisciplinary empirical research relating to law. Research projects currently being undertaken by members of the Centre for Empirical Legal Studies include:

  • A Study Of The Democratic Therapeutic Community At HMP Send – (Elaine Genders)
    This study sets out to understand the social organisation of the therapeutic community at HMP Send and how it functions.
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  • Australian National Legal Needs Survey – (Professor Pascoe Pleasence)
    Analysis of data from a large scale survey of the Australian public’s experience of civil justice problems, to provide strategic information for access to justice policy development in Australia.

  • Jury Decision-Making Research Programme – (Professor Cheryl Thomas)
    Juries decide the most serious criminal cases in this country yet little is know about how they reach their verdicts.  This research programme uses an innovative approach to understanding jury decision-making, combining analysis of actual jury verdicts with case simulation and post-trial surveys with real jurors.
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  • Tribunal Decision-Making Research Programme - (Professor Dame Hazel Genn and Professor Cheryl Thomas)
    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 is developing a programme of research on tribunal decision-making. 
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  • Judicial Appointments and Training Research Programme (Professor Cheryl Thomas)
    Both the judicial appointment process and judicial training programmes can have a fundamental impact on the performance and public perception of the judiciary.  This research programme explores the increasing pressures on judiciaries in both common and civil law countries to appoint and train judges to meet the changing needs of justice.
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  • Capability, Confidence and the Experience of Civil Law Problems (Professor Pascoe Pleasence, Dr. Nigel Balmer)
    Capability plays a key role in the public’s experience of civil law problems and behaviour in addressing them. This project involves the analysis of English and Welsh Civil and Social Justice Survey and English and Welsh Civil and Social Justice Panel Survey data analysed to explore interactions between capability, experience and behaviour.
  • Understanding the Impact of Interventions on Clients (Professor Pascoe Pleasence, Dr. Nigel Balmer, Professor Richard Moorhead)
    Regulatory interventions in the running of solicitors’ firms are relatively rare and designed to protect clients and the public. However, the impact of interventions on clients is not well understood. This project, which has involved a survey of clients of intervened solicitors’ firms, is providing a picture of how clients experience the intervention process, and whether experience varies between demographic groups.

Recently concluded studies include: