UCL launches institute to teach students about workings of the judicial system

The University College London (UCL) Faculty of Laws is launching the UK’s first-ever judicial institute, in an effort to help law students better understand the judicial system and its workings.

The institute, which is launching with immediate effect, will be dedicated to the study of how judges are appointed, how they reach decisions, the operation of the courts, and the relationship between the judiciary, other social institutions and other branches of government.

Despite often being referred to as the ‘third arm’ of government, the judicial system has never been subject to broad academic scrutiny in the UK, despite similar academic institutes in the US and elsewhere.

Commenting on the launch, UCL professor of judicial studies Cheryl Thomas said: “Today, there is not a single important social issue in our society that judges at some point aren’t asked to adjudicate. Yet in the UK the academic community has not really addressed the reality of judging or served the judiciary well with robust empirical research on the judicial process.

“The UCL judicial institute has been established to rectify this and create a home for world-leading scholarship on the judiciary.”

Dean of UCL Laws, Professor Dame Hazel Genn added: “The institute is an exciting initiative that builds upon our faculty expertise in judicial studies. The institute is particularly well-placed at UCL, with great potential for an interdisciplinary approach to scholarship in this area.”

UCL Laws will mark the launch of the institute with a panel debate on ‘The Future of Judging’, which will be chaired by the BBC’s Joshua Rozenberg. The event will also be attended by the co-directors of the judicial institute, Professors Dame Hazel Genn and Cheryl Thomas.