Dr Cyrus Tata

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Contact Details

Prof Cyrus Tata


Graham Hills Building


Tel : +44 (0)141 548 3274


Personal Statement

My work centres on the relationships between law, discretionary decision-making and justice. The use of discretion is both essential  and problematic to the principles of the Rule of Law. My work explores these issues – both in principle and through empirical observation.  Most of my empirical work has been conducted in the context of criminal legal processes and criminal justice. Such work not only describes and explains everyday justice practices, but can help us to re-vitalise and re-think cherished principles of justice.

As well as contributing to academic knowledge, my work aims to inform policy and practice, and indeed  broader public discourse.  For example, I have addressed and advised legislatures, judiciaries, governments and non-governmental bodies around the world, and assist the media.

I teach undergraduates as well as postgraduates on the Master’s in Criminal Justice and Penal Change. I also supervise several doctoral students.

Research Interests

Dr. Tata’s main areas of work are:

  • Sentencing Processes and Penal Policy
  • Pre-Sentencing Reports: including the production. interpretation and use of Reports in advising and assisting the sentencing process
  • Legal Decision Support Systems to assist sentencing process and policy and the possible implications for policy, practice and justice;
  • Legal Aid policy and its impact on criminal case handling, plea negotiaton, defence work, case trajectories, and case outcomes

If you are interested in post-graduate study by research in any of these (or related) areas you are very welcome to discuss your ideas informally with Dr. Cyrus Tata

Research Projects

Centre For Sentencing Research

Dr Tata has conducted research into sentencing and criminal processes in the lower, intermediate and higher criminal courts of Scotland, including:

  • An ESRC study of the role, construction, use and interpretation of pre-sentence reports in the sentencing process. ESRC no: R000239939 Tata: Sentencing Research (PDF)
  • An on-going and successful Research and Development project to design, implement, evaluate and enhance a Sentencing Information System for the High Court in Scotland (many of whose members also sit as Appeal Court Judges).
  • a study of sentencing disparity in the Sheriff (intermediate) Court.

Criminal Legal Aid

A second related strand of research is in criminal legal aid spending and performance, including:

  • An independent evaluation of the impact of the introduction of Fixed Payments in Summary Criminal Legal Aid (including the impact on expenditure and case resolution/pleading etc). View the full Report of the Study here
  • He is currently conducting a two-year research study (together with Scottish Centre for Social Research and P. Duff) into the effects of Summary Justice Reform – specifically reform of Disclosure of Prosecution Evidence and changes to Summary Legal Aid
  • A three-country European comparison of spending levels, patterns and performance
  • A full study (required by Westminster legislation to report to report by September 2001) evaluating the Public Defence Solicitor's Office PDSO Research Report (PDF)

Information Technology in Discretionary Legal Decision-making

A third related strand of research is into the use of information technology in discretionary legal decision-making.
Dr Tata was Chair of the Third Symposium on Judicial Decision Support Systems at Chicago-Kent College of Law and has author-edited three refereed volumes on the subject of Judicial Decision Support Systems.

Peer Reviewer / Expert Referee Bodies

  • Sentencing Council of England & Wales
  • The Youth Justice Board of England & Wales
  • The Home Office of England & Wales
  • The federal Australian Law Reform Commission
  • The Legal Services Commission of England & Wales
  • The Research Foundation of Belgium (FWO)
  • National Research Foundation of South Africa;
  • Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
  • The Economic & Social Research Council, UK
  • Law & Society Review
  • The Journal of Law & Society
  • Criminology & Criminal Justice
  • Punishment & Society: International Journal of Penology
  • European Journal of Criminology
  • European Journal of Probation (Editorial Board Member)
  • Howard Journal of Criminal Justice
  • Journal of Legal Ethics
  • Griffith Law Review Australia
  • Current Issues in Criminal Justice Australia
  • Palgrave MacMillan Socio-Legal Studies Series
  • Willan Publishing
  • Routledge Publishing
  • Ashgate Publishing
  • Decision Support Journal
  • The International Journal of the Sociology of Law;
  • International Review of Law Computers & Technology;
  • International Journal of Law & Information Technology;
  • Journal of Information, Law & Technology
  • University of Sydney Law School (post graduate external examiner in sentencing)

Parliamentary Evidence

  • Oral and written evidence to the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee’s Report on the Scottish Civil Justice and Criminal Legal Assistance Bill, October 2012. Evidence is discussed/quoted at eight different points in Committee’s Report
  • The Criminal Justice & Licensing (S) Bill 2009. – invited and gave oral and written evidence to Justice Committee. Quoted and discussed in Justice Committee’s Report
  • The Custodial Sentences & Weapons (S) Bill 2006 – invited and gave oral and written evidence to Justice Committee. Quoted and discussed in Committee’s Report
  • UK Parliament House of Commons Constitional Affairs Committee 2007 Report on the Implementation of the Carter Review of the Procurement of Legal Services and Legal Aid: third report of Session 2006-7 . Cites, reports and discusses the implications Tata’s legal aid research.

Conferences & Symposia Chaired

  • Symposium of the European Group on Sentencing and Penal Decision-Making, Dublin, Republic of Ireland 18-19th April 2013
  • Beyond the Revolving Door  - problem-solving courts Reducing Reoffending Conference Scottish Government Sept 2012
  • Problem-Solving Courts’. Private Judicial Seminar Judicial Studies Scotland. September 2012. Invited to Co-Chair with the Director of Judicial Studies
  • Roundtable Chatham House discussion with key officials and practitioners on sentencing, Strathclyde University, May 2012
  • Annual Programme Scottish Association for the Study of Offending, Glasgow. 2012-13 Programme Scottish Association for Study of Offending (SASO). SASO is the leading policy and practice forum in Scotland. Hon Secretary of Glasgow Branch and National Council Member. Programmes are devised with committee members and chair
  • Can there be and Should there be European Sentencing? Mutual Recognition and Comparative Research. Symposium of the European Group on Sentencing and Penal Decision-Making, Como, Italy 19-20th April 2012
  • Launch of the Report of the official Commission on Women’s Offending, Strathclyde University April 2012
  • Sentencing & Penal Decision-Making European ESC Working Group Symposium 2011 Oxford University http://www.esc-eurocrim.org/workgroups.shtml#sentencing
  • Sentencing Penal Decision-Making, European Society of Criminology stream, Liege, Belgium, September 2010
  • Scottish Association for the Study of Offending May 2009 Strathclyde University, Glasgow Branch Annual Conference. Women & Children in the Criminal Justice System
  • Scottish Association for the Study of Offending May 2008 Strathclyde University, Glasgow Branch Annual Conference,
  • "Is Justice for the Community Justice by the Community?" SASO http://www.sastudyoffending.org.uk/events.html
  • Pre-Sentence Reports – Round-table discussion of the policy implications May 2007. A private high-level Chatham House-style discussion about the implications of ESRC research with senior practitioners and officials
  • Sentencing & Society: Second International Conference 27-29 June 2002 Strathclyde University International conference bringing together over 170 delegates from 28 different countries.
  • Judicial Decision Support Systems: Third International Symposium Hosted by Chicago-Kent College of Law Chicago 25-26 May 2001. Mixed inter-discilpinary academic audience as well as policy officials, judges and prosecutors.
  • Sentencing & Society: International Conference 24-26 June 1999 Strathclyde University.
  • Judicial Decision Support Systems: Second International Symposium. Oslo June 1999 Co-Chair: Tata (with Norwegian Chief Judge Schjolberg).
  • Judicial Decision Support Systems: First Symposium Melbourne July 1997 Co-Chair Co-Chair: Tata (with Norwegian Chief Judge Schjolberg).

Current Post-Graduate Research Student Supervision

  1. Judge Supakit Yampracha Sentencing Reform in Thailand: International lessons –October 2012 (PhD Primary Supervisor)
  2. Mr Jay Gormley: Sentence Discounting for Pleas of Guilty (Primary Supervisor) October 2012-
  3. Ms Juliet Kamuzze: The Transition from Mandatory to Discretionary Capital Sentencing in Uganda: a Need for Sentencing Guidelines (2nd Supervisor – PhD) 2011-
  4. Mr Michael Sweeney An Exploration of the shift towards ‘Remand Culture’ in the Criminal Justice System Primary supervisor
  5. Ms. Jacqueline Murchie  Would greater victim participation benefit the criminal justice system? Primary supervisor 
  6. Ms. Lynsey Mitchell Explaining the use of gender narratives to justify intervention in foreign states and portray military success and superiority PhD Second supervisor
  7. Ms. Erin Jordan The Discretionary Application of prostitution law for male, female, indoor and outdoor sex workers in Scotland PhD Primary Supervisor Dec 2011 – August 2012, second supervisor/Reviewer
  8. Mr Jean de Dieu Sikulibo  Prosecuting Rape and Sexual Violence under international criminal law: towards effective justice for victims PhD Second supervisor. Commencing October 2012

University Teaching

  • MSc in Criminology & Criminal Justice (including Criminal Legal Process; & Penology)
  • Law, Justice & Society (a fourth year LLB class focusing on the benefits and challenges which legal discretion presents to Rule of Law values and principles)
  • Legal Process (LLB class – his lectures focus on the Criminal Legal Process)
  • Law & Society (a compulsory LLB jurisprudence class which applies both on philosophical (‘law & morality’) and sociological (‘law-in-action’) approaches to a wide range of ‘real-world’ legal problems

Roles and Responsibilities at Strathclyde

External & Visiting Positions etc.

During 2000, Cyrus was visiting fellow/scholar at the Judicial Commission of New South Wales (Australia) and at Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice, Centre for Law &Justice (USA). He also served as Faculty Member of the USA National Centre for State Courts.
He has also been an adviser to the senior judiciary of the Irish Supreme Courts, and to the Irish Courts Service.
Dr Tata is also an elected member of the National Council of the Scottish Association for the Study of Offending http://www.sastudyoffending.org.uk/Council.html, and was re-elected the Honorary Secretary (Glasgow) of the Scottish Association for the Study of Offending http://www.sastudyoffending.org.uk/branches.html
Member of the Editorial Board of The European Journal of Probation. http://www.ejprob.ro/
Chair of the Sentencing & Penal Decision-Making Working Group of the European Society of Criminology http://www.esc-eurocrim.org/workgroups.shtml#sentencing


  • Using big data analytics and genetic algorithms to predict street crime

    Andonovic, Ivan (Co-investigator) Fedorov, Maxim (Co-investigator) Quigley, John (Co-investigator) Rogerson, Robert (Co-investigator) Tata, Cyrus (Co-investigator)

    Period 01-Jun-2013 - 30-May-2015