Dame Hazel Genn

Dame Hazel Genn

DBE, QC (Hon), FBA, BA (1971), LLB (1985), LLD (1992)

Co-Director, UCL Judicial Institute

+44 (0)20 3108 8335


Professor Dame Hazel Genn is Professor of Socio-Legal Studies and co-director of the UCL Judicial Institute in the Faculty of Laws at University College London, where she is also an Honorary Fellow. She previously held a Chair and was Head of the Department of Law at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London. Before joining London University, she held full-time research posts at Oxford University Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (1974-1985) and the Cambridge Institute of Criminology (1972-74).

Dame Hazel has been appointed to numerous public service roles concerned with the justice system. In January 2006, she was appointed an Inaugural Commissioner to the England and Wales Judicial Appointments Commission (established under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005) and served on the Commission from 2006-2011, appointing judiciary at all levels, including to the Court of Appeal and the UK Supreme Court. Dame Hazel was also a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life 2003-7 and in April 2009 she was appointed to the Secretary of State’s Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity.

She worked with the Judicial Studies Board for 12 years, serving as a member of the Main Board and the Tribunals Committee, and contributing to the design and delivery of training for the judiciary at all levels. She served for eight years as Deputy Chair and then Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Research Grants Board. Dame Hazel is currently a member of the Senior Salaries Review Board, and Chair of the Judicial Sub Committee.

She has been a Fellow of the British Academy since 2000, a member of its Council 2001-2004, was Vice President and also served as Chair of its Communications and Publications Committee from 2008 – 2011. In 2005, she was awarded the US Law and Society International Prize for distinguished scholarship and she holds Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Keele, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Leicester, and Kingston.

In recognition of her contribution to the justice system, Dame Hazel was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2000 and appointed DBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2006. In 2006 she was also appointed Queen’s Counsel Honoris Causa and in 2008 she was elected Honorary Master of the Bench of Gray’s Inn.


Dame Hazel’s work has focused on the experiences of ordinary people caught up in legal problems and the responsiveness of the justice system to the needs of citizens. She has conducted numerous empirical studies on public access to the justice system and has published widely in her specialist fields.

Her work has had a major influence on policy-makers around the world and she is regularly invited to lecture and provide advice abroad. Consistent with her interest in public use of and experiences of the justice system, she recently led a Task Force on Public Legal Education (PLEAS).

View Hazel’s research profile on the UCL IRIS website


Professor Dame Hazel Genn is a leading authority on civil justice and has published widely in the field including:

  • Meeting Legal Needs? (1981)
  • Hard Bargaining: Out of Court Settlement in Personal Injury Actions (1987)
  • The Effectiveness of Representation at Tribunals (1989)
  • Tribunals and Informal Justice (1992)
  • Personal Injury Compensation: How Much is Enough? (1994)
  • Survey of Litigation Costs for the Woolf Inquiry into Access to Justice (1996)
  • Understanding Civil Justice (1997)
  • Mediation in Action (1999)
  • Tribunals for Diverse Users (2006)

She is author of companion volumes Paths to Justice: What People Do and Think About Going to Law (1999) and, with Alan Paterson, Paths to Justice Scotland: What Scottish People Do and Think About Going to Law (2001), which report the findings of two major national surveys into public use of and attitudes to the legal system. This seminal study has since been replicated in 27 jurisdictions around the globe, and there is now a recognised ‘Paths to Justice’ tradition of studies of unmet legal need.

She has published several reports for the Ministry of Justice evaluating court-linked ADR schemes:

  • Central London County Court Mediation Scheme: Evaluation Report (1998);
  • Court-Based ADR Initiatives for Non-Family Civil Disputes: The Commercial Court and the Court Appeal (2002);
  • Twisting Arms: Court Linked and Court Referred Mediation Under Judicial Pressure (2007).

She was one of the team leading the Nuffield Foundation’s Inquiry on Empirical Legal Research and is one of the authors of the final report Law in the Real World: Improving our Understanding of How Law Works, published in November 2006.

In November/December 2008 she delivered the 2008 Hamlyn Lectures on the subject of civil justice. The Hamlyn Lectures were published by Cambridge University Press in November 2009 entitled Judging Civil Justice.

Together with Professor Cheryl Thomas, Dame Hazel led a two-year path-breaking study of tribunal decision-making, funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The report Understanding tribunal decision-making – A foundational empirical study was published by the Nuffield Foundation in December 2013.

Documents available to download

36th FA Mann Lecture, ‘Why the Privatisation of Civil Justice is a Rule of Law Issue’ (2012)

Atkin Memorial Lecture, ‘Do-it Yourself Law: Access to Justice and the challenge of self-representation’ (2012)

The attractiveness of senior judicial appointment to highly qualified practitioners: Report to the Judicial Executive Board (2008)

Cambridge University Press publication details for the Hamlyn Lectures 2008, ‘Judging Civil Justice’