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Prof Cheryl Thomas
305 Bentham House
Director, UCL Judicial Institute and UCL Jury Project
UCL Faculty of Laws
  • Professor of Judicial Studies
  • Faculty of Laws

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 the Lord Chancellor's Advisory panel on Judicial Diversity, Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, the European Commission, Judicial Studies Board, Law Commission, Council of Europe, French government, Lord Chancellor, and Commission for Judicial Appointments.  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. in law and politics from Oxford University, M.Phil. in politics from Oxford University, and BA in political science from Syracuse University.   

Research Summary

Professor Cheryl Thomas has conducted ground-breaking research in the United Kingdom and other jurisdictions on juries, judicial decision-making, the role of diversity in the justice system, and the appointment and training of judges.  Professor Thomas is the country's leading expert on juries and 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 study, Diversity and Fairness in the Jury System (2007), was the first study ever conducted in this country on race and jury decision-making and the most up to date study of the representative nature of jury service in England and Wales.  Her follow-up study, Are Juries Fair? (2010), tackled sensitive and controversial issues about the fairness of jury decision-making for the first time in this country including: jury discrimination against minority defendants, jury conviction rates, juror understanding of legal directions, awareness of media coverage and use of the internet. She is currently conducting the first empirical study of tribunal decision-making in the UK, as well as further jury research on the impact on juries of special measures for vulnerable witnesses, how to prevent juror internet use during trial and how to improve jury deliberations.

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 

Graduate taught courses:

LLM: Judges, Courts and Judicial Decision-Making (LAWSG132)

MSc Forensic Science: Judges, Courts and Judicial Decision-Making (LAWSG132A)

BASc:  Law in Action (LAWS1014)

PhD Supervision: Yael Levy Ariel, Ella Cockbain, Diana Richards

Other programmes: Pathways to Law

Academic Background
1989 DPhil Doctor of Philosophy – Politics with Law University of Oxford
1984 M.Phil Master of Philosophy – Politics University of Oxford
1980 BA Bachelor of Arts – Political Science Syracuse University
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