UCL Faculty of Laws

Prof Dame Hazel Genn

Prof Dame Hazel Genn

Professor of Socio-Legal Studies

Faculty of Laws


Joined UCL
1st Oct 1994

Research summary

Dame Hazel Genn is a leading authority on access to civil and administrative justice.  Her prize winning scholarship focuses on the experiences of ordinary people caught up in legal problems and the responsiveness of the justice system to the needs of citizens.  She has conducted numerous empirical studies on public access to the justice system and has published widely in her specialist fields.  She is author of Paths to Justice: What People Do and Think About Going to Law (1999) a seminal study of public access to justice which has since been replicated in 27jurisdictions around the globe.  In 2008 Dame Hazel delivered the Hamlyn Lectures on the subject of civil justice.  The Lectures were published by Cambridge University Press in November 2009 entitled Judging Civil Justice.   In 2012 she delivered the F A Mann Annual Lecture on ‘Why the Privatisation of Justice is a Rule of Law Issue’ and the Atkin Memorial Lecture on ‘Do it Yourself Justice: Access to Justice and the Challenge of Self-Representation’.  Her work has had a major influence on policy-makers around the world and she is regularly invited to lecture and provide advice abroad.  Consistent with her interest in public use of and experiences of the justice system, she has led a Task Force on Public Legal Education (PLEAS).  In 2013 she established the UCL Faculty of Laws Centre for Access to Justice.  Between2016-2018 she developed the activities of the Centre for Access to Justiceto include an innovative health justice partnership with a GP practice in EastLondon delivering free social welfare legal services to low income andvulnerable patients within the practice. She is currently Directing a National Strategy for Health JusticePartnership, funded by The Legal Education Foundation.  Working in collaboration with UCL Health ofthe Public she recently launched a Law for Health stream of work https://www.ucl.ac.uk/health-of-public/research/ucl-health-public-communities/law-health with a report entitled: Law for Health: Using free legal services totackle the social determinants of health https://www.ucl.ac.uk/health-of-public/sites/health_of_public/files/law_for_health_hjp_final.pdf

Teaching summary

Health Justice; access to justice; civil justice process; empirical legal research.


University of London
Doctorate, Doctor of Laws | 1993


Dame Hazel Genn is Professor of Socio-Legal Studies in the Faculty of Laws at UCL.  She was Dean of the Faculty 2008-2017 and is founder and Director of the UCL Centre for Access to Justice.  She was also co-founder of the UCL Judicial Institute with Professor Cheryl Thomas.  After serving as UCL Interim Vice President External Engagement, in July 2022 she was appointed Pro-Provost Bicentennial.  She previously held a Chair and was Head of the Department of Law at Queen Mary, University of London. Before joining London University, she held full-time research posts at Oxford University Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (1974-1985) and the Cambridge Institute of Criminology(1972-74). In January 2006, she was appointed an Inaugural Commissioner of the new Judicial Appointments Commission established under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and was a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life2003-7. In April 2009 she was appointed to the Secretary of State's Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity. She has been a Fellow of the British Academy since 2000, a member of its Council 2001-2004 and was Chair of Communications and Publications Committee (2008-2011). In 2005, she was awarded the US Law and Society International Prize for distinguished scholarship and she holds Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of  Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Hull, Leicester, Keele, Kingston and York . Dame Hazel worked with the Judicial Studies Board for 12 years, serving as a member of the Main Board and the Tribunals Committee, and contributing to the design and delivery of training for the judiciary at all levels. She served for eight years as Deputy Chair and then Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council's Research Grants Board. In recognition of her work on civil justice, she was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2000 and appointed DBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2006. In 2006 she was also appointed Queen's Counsel Honoris Causa. In 2008 she was elected Honorary Master of the Bench of Gray's Inn.