Driving Educational Innovation at the Bar with the Appointment of Dean of Education

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

This marks the first time in 700 years that any Inn of Court has appointed a Dean and reflects The Inner Temple’s progressive approach and commitment to lifelong learning for barristers.

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

With origins dating back to the 14th Century, the Inner Temple has for the first time in its history created the position of Dean – with Professor Thomas the inaugural post-holder.

Professor Thomas is the country’s leading expert on courts, judges and juries, and is based at UCL’s Faculty of Laws. 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.

Welcoming Professor Thomas to the position, The Rt Hon Lord 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.

The Rt Hon Lord Hughes of Ombersley

Professor Thomas conducts ground-breaking research in the UK and other jurisdictions on courts, judges and juries. She has developed innovative educational tools for use in courts and has extensive experience training judges and lawyers here and abroad.

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 Cheryl Thomas QC (Hon)

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.

Notes to Editors

Struan Campbell

Deputy Director of Education (Acting)

Bio

Implementation of Future Bar Training Reforms, Educational Policy and Research, Press and Social Media

Struan Campbell

Deputy Director of Education (Acting)

Bio

Implementation of Future Bar Training Reforms, Educational Policy and Research, Press and Social Media

Struan Campbell

Deputy Director of Education (Acting)

Bio

Implementation of Future Bar Training Reforms, Educational Policy and Research, Press and Social Media

The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple

The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple is one of the four Inns of Court of England and Wales. The Inns of Court hold the exclusive right to Call candidates to practise at the Bar of England and Wales and are providers of legal education and training. The Inner Temple celebrated the 400th anniversary of the granting of its Royal Charter in 2008.

The Inn has over 10,000 qualified members, including judges, barristers (both practising and non-practising), pupils and students.

Twitter: twitter.com/TheInnerTemple
Website: www.innertemple.org.uk

Biography of Professor Cheryl Thomas QC (Hon)

Professor Cheryl Thomas QC (Hon) 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 a wide range of official bodies including the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Chancellor, UK Ministry of Justice, Judicial College, Law Commission, Crown Prosecution Service, the Judiciaries of Scotland and Northern Ireland, European Commission and other international organisations and governments.  In 2012 she was elected Honorary Master of the Bench of Inner Temple.  In 2017 she was appointed Queen's Counsel Honoris Causa.  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. and M.Phil. from Oxford University and BA from Syracuse University.

Professor Thomas is the country's leading expert on courts, judges and juries and has pioneered the empirical study of the judiciary in the UK.  She has conducted ground-breaking research on judges, juries, the role of diversity in the justice system and the appointment and training of judges. Professor Thomas has pioneered the study of jury decision-making in the criminal courts this country, using an innovative approach that combines large-scale analysis of actual jury verdicts, post-verdict interviews with jurors and case simulation with real jurors at Crown Courts. Her research with real jurors at court has tackled sensitive and controversial issues about the representative nature of juries and jury decision-making for the first time in this country (Diversity & Fairness in the Jury System 2007; Are Juries Fair? 2010).  She has also led path-breaking research on the professional judiciary, including instituting the UK Judicial Attitude Survey 2014 and 2016, a longitudinal study of the working lives of judges conducted on behalf of the judiciaries of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; created the UK Supreme Court and Judicial Committee of the Privy Council Database Project and a foundational empirical study of tribunal decision-making.

Her current jury research examines the impact of the digital courtroom, the impact of special measures for vulnerable witnesses, whether jurors believe myths and stereotypes in some cases, how to prevent juror misconduct, how to improve jury deliberations and how best to provide support for jurors during and after trial.

Professor Thomas offers the only LLM course in this country on understanding what judges actually do when they decide cases and the crucial role judges and courts play in democracies.  She also provides courses in law to non-law undergraduate and graduate students in other UCL faculties.