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PhD Student Graduates

You can read more about our research students who have recently completed their studies at UCL Laws below.

Dr Eleanore Hickman
Eleanore Hickman

PhD in Diversity, Merit and Power in the C-suite of the FTSE100 (2020)

Eleanore specialises in diversity and corporate governance. Formerly a solicitor practising in private equity, she obtained her PhD from UCL in 2020. Her thesis entitled 'Diversity, Merit and Power in the C-suite of the FTSE100' takes a theoretical and empirical look at the appointment and retention of some of the most powerful people in UK business. 

Eleanore's Post Viva Thesis can be read here

Diversity, Merit and Power in the C-suite of the FTSE100

At present Eleanore is researching the 'Governance of Financial Institutions' at the University of Cambridge.


Dr Sara Razai
Sara Razai

PhD in Judiciary in the Middle East (2019)

Sara is an expert on empirical research on the judiciary in the Middle East, her research has fed into policy-making and she has provided different actors and stakeholders with policy recommendations and programmatic responses at national and international levels.

Her doctoral thesis, conducted under Professor Cheryl Thomas was to understand how institutional, functional and behavioural characteristics influence judicial role perceptions in the Arab Middle East. As part of her research, Sara conducted three studies where she surveyed, interviewed and profiled over 180 judges. The survey, thought to be the first of Arab judges, investigated judicial role conceptions, judges' attitudes to law, politics and international norms on the judiciary. Her doctoral research was supported by UCL Law and UCL-Yale research awards.

Sara's Post Viva Thesis can be read here

The role and significance of judges in the Arab Middle East pdf

Sara is the Director of the Institut d'Études sur le Droit et la Justice dans les Sociétés Arabes  in Paris. In 2020, she joined the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law where she is working on the research project Special Processes for the Reassessment and Removal of Judges in the Context of Constitutional Transitions  funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council.


Dr Diana Richards
Diana Richards

PhD in Judicial Studies (2018)

Diana specialised in socio-legal research on the judiciary and the justice system, with a focus on quantitative evidence. She is passionate about using robust evidence to inform and improve policy-making in justice. Diana obtained a doctorate in judicial studies at UCL Laws with a study on how judges at different levels of expertise have different learning needs.  

Her study was the first large-scale study of judicial attitudes in Europe to validate Kolb's theory of adult learning on judicial office holders. She has also conducted research on judicial-led alternative dispute resolution, judicial diversity, and judicial independence. Details about her academic research, publications, presentations and teaching can be found at http://www.dianarichards.co.uk/

Diana is now a senior policy advisor in judicial policy at the Ministry of Justice. She has been working in areas such as judicial recruitment strategy, impacts of judicial policies on judicial morale and retention, and impacts of EU Exit and other cross-governmental policies on caseload and judicial resource. She continues to be a champion of robust evidence in policy making.


Dr Yael Levy Ariel
Yael Levy Ariel

PhD in Judicial Diversity in Israel: An Empirical Study of Judges, Lawyers and Law Students (2018)

Yael examined the state of diversity in the judiciary, the legal profession and legal education in Israel. The aims of her research were (1) To provide the first comprehensive analysis of judicial diversity in Israel; (2) To provide the first study of diversity amongst Israeli lawyers and law students; (3) To explore perceptions of Israeli lawyers and law students regarding judicial diversity in Israel.

To achieve this, three large-scale quantitative empirical studies were carried out. The first study draws on publicly available information to profile the diversity of all judges in the general court system in Israel (covering over 700 judges). The other two studies surveyed lawyers and law students in Israel, profiling the diversity of each group and examining their views about the Israeli judiciary, judicial diversity in general and in Israel, as well as their interest in a judicial career. The three studies therefore provide a unique insight into judicial diversity in Israel as it currently stands as well as the where it may be heading in the immediate and longer-term future. The thesis also places its findings within the continuing debate about judicial diversity in Israel, and it explores how judicial diversity in Israeli fits within the wider scholarship on judicial diversity worldwide.

Yael's Post Viva Thesis can be read here
Judicial Diversity in Israel: An Empirical Study of Judges, Lawyers and law Students pdf

Yael currently leads the Law Society’s Solicitor Judges Division. Her role includes support for aspiring and sitting solicitor judges, and working with stakeholders towards increasing the number of solicitors in the courts and tribunals judiciary. She provides policy briefings and papers on the Law Society’s stand on judicial diversity, judicial appointments and issues relating to the representation and progression of solicitor judges. She also includes preparing commentary and policy recommendations and involves ongoing communication with stakeholders, both internally and externally.