UCL Faculty of Laws


Prof Cheryl Thomas

Professor of Judicial Studies

Faculty of Laws


Joined UCL
1st Mar 2007

Research summary

Professor Cheryl Thomas KC (Hon) has conducted ground-breaking research in the United Kingdom and other jurisdictions on judges, juries, the role of diversity in the justice system, and the appointment and training of judges.  Professor Thomas is the country's leading expert on judges and juries.  She has pioneered the study of jury decision-making in the criminal courts this country, using an innovative approach that combines case simulation with real jurors at Crown Courts, large-scale analysis of actual jury verdicts and post-verdict interviews with jurors. Her groundbreaking studies, Diversity and Fairness in the Jury System (2007) and Are Juries Fair? (2010) tackled sensitive and controversial issues about the representative nature of juries and jury decision-making for the first time in this country. She has also led path breaking research on the professional judiciary, including instituting the UK Judicial Attitude Survey, a longitudinal study of the working lives of judges (conducted on behalf of the judiciaries of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; created the the UK Supreme Court and Judicial Committee of the Privy Council Database Project and a foundational empirical study of tribunal decision-making.  Her current jury research examines the impact of the digital courtroom on jury trials, the impact of special measures for vulnerable witnesses, whether jurors believe myths and stereotypes in some cases, how to prevent juror misconduct, how to improve jury deliberations and how best to provide support for jurors during and after trial.

Teaching summary

Professor Thomas  offers the only LLM course in this country on understanding what judges actual do when they decide cases and the crucial role judges and courts play in democracies.  She also provides courses in law to non-law undergraduate and graduate students in other UCL faculties.

Graduate taught courses:

LLM: Judges, Courts and Judicial Decision-Making

MSc Forensic Science: Law and Expert Evidence 

Undergraduate taught courses:

BASc:  Law in Action 

PhD Supervision: Yael Levy Ariel, Diana Richards, Eleanore Hickman, Sara Razai, Terry McGuinness, Paul Troop, Sophia Schroeder


University of Oxford
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1989
University of Oxford
Other higher degree, Master of Philosophy | 1984
Syracuse University
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 1980


Cheryl Thomas is Professor of Judicial Studies in the UCL Faculty of Laws.  This is the first chair in judicial studies in the United Kingdom.  She is also Director of the UCL Jury Project and Co-Director of the UCL Judicial Institute.  Professor Thomas has served as a specialist consultant on judicial affairs to a wide range of official bodies including the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Chancellor's Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity, Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, Judicial College, Law Commission, Commission for Judicial Appointments, Council of Europe and European Commission.  In 2012 she was elected Honorary Master of the Bench of Inner Temple.  In 2017 she was also appointed Queen's Counsel Honoris Causa.  She is also a documentary maker and has produced programmes for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Discovery and PSB.  Professor Thomas holds a D.Phil. and M.Phil. from Oxford University and BA from Syracuse University.