Innovation & Enterprise


UCL Laws drives educational innovation at the Bar with new Inner Temple partnership

9 July 2019

UCL Law’s Professor Cheryl Thomas QC (Hon) has been appointed Dean of Education at Inner Temple to help drive educational innovation and facilitate knowledge exchange.

Professor Cheryl Thomas QC (Hon)

The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple is one of the four Inns of Court, the professional associations for all barristers in England and Wales. Among its many functions is to call people to the Bar to become barristers and provide education and training for practicing barristers.

With origins dating back to the 14th century, the Inner Temple has created the position of dean for the first time in its history, with Professor Cheryl Thomas the inaugural post-holder. 

Leading legal light

Cheryl is the country’s leading expert on courts, judges and juries, and is based at UCL’s Faculty of Laws. She’ll advise and assist Inner Temple in developing new courses and activities for established members of the profession. The partnership will also see the introduction of new learning technologies for the inn’s educational and training activities and implementation of new training requirements introduced by the Bar Standards Board.

The appointment represents a new era of collaboration between the legal profession and UCL. It also provides an exciting opportunity to exchange knowledge and practice in law between the two institutions, benefitting wider society.

A transformational appointment

Welcoming Cheryl to the position, Lord Anthony Hughes of Ombersley, Treasurer of the Inner Temple, said: “The Inner Temple must remain relevant to the profession and the community it serves. The appointment of Professor Thomas, one of the country’s leading academics on law and the courts, will ensure that the inn provides ever more useful training to members throughout their career, helping to ensure that the profession is equipped to meet the demands of the future.” 

Forging stronger links with the Bar

Cheryl conducts ground-breaking research in the UK and other jurisdictions on courts, judges and juries. She's developed innovative educational tools for use in courts and has extensive experience training judges and lawyers here and abroad.

She said: “I'm absolutely delighted and honoured to be appointed Dean of Inner Temple. The decision to appoint a dean for the first time in the Inns of Court’s almost 700-year history reflects Inner Temple’s forward-looking approach to life at the Bar in the 21st century.

“I've been fortunate to have already worked closely with Inner Temple as a member of the Education and Training Committee and most recently to help with a major redevelopment of Inner Temple’s ethics training for new practitioners. I’m looking forward to helping forge stronger links between the Bar and academia and in raising public awareness of the crucial role the Bar plays in ensuring the rule of law.”

Cheryl will continue in her post at UCL as Professor of Judicial Studies and Director of the UCL Jury Project and UCL Judicial Institute, dividing her time between the two institutions. 

Empowering change

In order to explore the options available for growing existing links with Inner Temple, Cheryl worked closely with UCL Innovation & Enterprise and UCL’s Vice-Provost (Enterprise), Dr Celia Caulcott.

UCL Innovation & Enterprise helps facilitate links between academic departments and businesses, charities and other external organisations to create social, technological and economic impact.
Celia said: “The UCL community is home to some of the world’s leading thinkers in many different areas, from the neuroscience of memory to the intricacies of Article 50. This knowledge can be of great benefit to many professional sectors, including the Bar, which need to stay ahead of the curve and incorporate the latest ideas and thinking from research for the benefit of the communities they serve.
“We believe this partnership with Inner Temple can provide a model for collaboration between academia and the professions going forward.”


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