UCL Faculty of Laws


Judges, Courts and Judicial Decision-Making (LAWS0118)

This innovative module explores the crucial role judges and courts play in the modern state, and it provides students with a unique opportunity to understand what it is like to be a judge, how judges make decisions, what skills they require and what pressures and controversies they face. 

Part 1 of the module looks at the judicial role. It examines how judges are selected; what skills are required to be a good judge; how representative the judiciary is; how judges are trained and develop their careers; and the future of judging in a digital world.

In Part 2 of the module we examine the judge in action, exploring how judges make decisions in individual cases. It is an active participatory module, where students gain first-hand experience of judicial decision-making through a series of Hands-On Judicial Decision-Making Seminars.  Leading judges and experts share their knowledge with students through the course's Special Judicial Guest Seminars and students also have the opportunity to act as judges in criminal cases and attend court proceedings.  

Module syllabus

This module is subject to change.

This module will be structured as follows:

  • Judges, Decision-Making and Democracy
  • Judicial Studies: The Cutting-Edge Study of Judges & Courts
  • Judicial Appointments and Diversity 
  • How Can We Understand How Judges Make Decisions?
  • The Public as Judges: Trial by Jury 
  • The Need for Judges in the Future?

Recommended materials

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment.

Preliminary reading

Two module readings can be downloaded are:

Key information

Module details
Credit value:15 credits (7.5 ECTS, 150 learning hours)
Convenor:David Ormerod
Cheryl Thomas
Other Teachers:None
Teaching Delivery:10 x 2-hour weekly seminars, Term One
Who may enrol:LLM students only
Must not be taken with:None
Qualifying module for:LLM in Law and Social Justice
LLM in Human Rights Law
LLM in Litigation and Dispute Resolution;
LLM in Public Law
Practice Assessment:Opportunity for feedback on one optionl practice essay
Final Assessment:Essay (100%)