UCL News


UCL professor appointed first Dean of Inner Temple in its 700-year history

12 July 2019

UCL Laws Professor Cheryl Thomas QC (Hon) has been appointed the first ever Dean of Education at Inner Temple, to help drive educational innovation and facilitate knowledge exchange.

prof cheryl thomas

It is the first time in its 700-year history that an Inn of Court has appointed a Dean, reflecting Inner Temple’s progressive approach and commitment to lifelong learning for barristers. 

The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, commonly known as Inner Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court – the professional associations for barristers and judges in England and Wales. Among its many functions is to call people to the Bar and provide education and training for barristers.

Professor Thomas has conducted ground-breaking research in the UK and other jurisdictions on courts, judges and juries, and is the country’s leading expert. She has developed innovative educational tools for use in courts and has extensive experience training judges and lawyers in the UK and abroad.

She will advise and assist Inner Temple in developing new courses and activities for established members of the profession. The partnership will also see the introduction of new learning technologies for the Inn’s educational and training activities and implementation of new training requirements introduced by the Bar Standards Board.

The appointment represents a new era of collaboration between the legal profession and UCL and an exciting opportunity to exchange knowledge and practice in law between the two institutions for the benefit of wider society.

On her appointment, Professor Thomas said: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to be appointed Dean of Inner Temple.  The decision to appoint a Dean for the first time in the Inns of Court’s almost 700-year history reflects Inner Temple’s forward-looking approach to life at bar in the 21st century.

“I have been fortunate to have already worked closely with Inner Temple as a member of the Education and Training Committee and most recently to help with a major redevelopment of Inner Temple’s ethics training for new practitioners.  I’m looking forward to helping forge stronger links between the Bar and academia and in raising public awareness of the crucial role the Bar plays in ensuring the rule of law.”

Professor Thomas will continue in her post at UCL as Professor of Judicial Studies and Director of the UCL Jury Project and UCL Judicial Institute, dividing her time between the two institutions.

Welcoming Professor Thomas to the position, Lord Anthony Hughes of Ombersley, Treasurer of the Inner Temple, said: “The Inner Temple must remain relevant to the profession and the community it serves. The appointment of Professor Thomas, one of the country’s leading academics on law and the courts, will ensure that the Inn provides ever more useful training to members throughout their career, helping to ensure that the profession is equipped to meet the demands of the future.”

In order to explore what options were available for growing existing links with Inner Temple, Professor Thomas worked closely with UCL Innovation & Enterprise and UCL Vice-Provost (Enterprise), Dr Celia Caulcott. 

UCL Innovation & Enterprise helps to facilitate links between academic departments and businesses, charities and other external organisations to empower social, technological and economic impact. 

Dr Caulcott said: “The UCL community is home to some of the world’s leading thinkers in many different sectors, from the neuroscience of memory to the intricacies of Article 50. This knowledge can be of great benefit to many professional sectors, including the Bar, which need to stay ahead of the curve and incorporate the latest thinking from many different sectors for the benefit of the communities they serve. 

“We believe this partnership with Inner Temple can provide a model for collaboration between academia and the professions going forward.”



  • Professor Cheryl Thomas

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