Professor of Judicial Studies, University College London Faculty of Laws
Cheryl Thomas is Professor of Judicial Studies at University College London Faculty of Laws, and holder of 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 (with Professor Dame Hazel Genn). A specialist in judicial studies, Cheryl 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.
She is the country's leading expert on juries. Cheryl 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, was the first study ever conducted in this country on race and jury decision-making and the first study in over 15 years on the representative nature of jury service in England and Wales.
The recently published follow-up study tackles sensitive and controversial issues about the fairness of jury decision-making for the first time in this country. The empirical study involved over 1,000 serving jurors in three areas of the country and over 68,000 jury verdicts across all Crown Courts in England and Wales.
Cheryl 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, French government, Judicial Studies Board, Council of Europe, Lord Chancellor, and former Commission for Judicial Appointments. As well as an academic, she is also a documentary filmmaker and has produced programmes for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Discovery, and PBS.