Cheryl Thomas is Professor of Judicial Studies in the UCL Faculty of Law, where she is also Vice Dean for Research. She holds 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 is the country’s leading expert on juries and a specialist in judicial decision-making, the role of diversity in the justice system, and the appointment and training of judges. She has pioneered the study of jury decision-making in 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 ground-breaking 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 first study in over 15 years on the representative nature of jury service. 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 whether all-White juries discriminate against Black and minority ethnic defendants, whether juries rarely convict on certain offences or at certain courts, whether jurors understand legal directions, are aware of media coverage of their cases or look for information on the internet about their cases during trial. The study involved over 1000 serving jurors in three areas of the country and over 68,000 jury verdicts across all Crown Courts in England and Wales.
She is currently conducting new research on the impact of technology on jury trials.