UCL Faculty of Laws


Professor Cheryl Thomas QC interviewed for BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Colour of Justice’

24 July 2019

‘The Colour of Justice’, presented by Edward Adoo, investigates the lack of non-white judges in the UK judiciary.

Cheryl Thomas 800x500

Professor Cheryl Thomas QC, Professor of Judicial Studies at UCL Laws, has commented on the diversity of the UK judiciary for a BBC Radio 4 programme, ‘The Colour of Justice’, broadcast today.

Professor Thomas’ comments were focused on the UK Judicial Attitude Survey (UKJAS) - the first and only longitudinal study of the experiences and attitudes of serving judges, run by Professor Thomas at the UCL Judicial Institute.

Professor Thomas goes on to explain that the "elephant in the room" in terms of changing the diversity of the judiciary is the government austerity programme that has led to a significant recruitment and retention problem in the judiciary in recent years. The UKJAS was the first to identify this issue. Professor Thomas also explains that the UKJAS revealed large proportions of female and ethnic majority judges already in post are considering leaving early in the next 5 years.

The findings of the UKJAS has been relied on by the UK government in a new policy to address the crisis in judicial recruitment. In agreeing to fund an increase in judicial salaries to aid recruitment and retention in the judiciary, the government drew on the UKJAS findings on low levels of judicial morale (para 15, 36) as important factors affecting judicial recruitment and retention. The report, Government response to Report No. 90 by the Senior Salaries Review Body, is available now.

You can listen to the podcast in full (Professor Thomas’ interview begins at 18:04).