Professor Cyrus Tata


Personal statement

I am Professor of Law and Criminal Justice at Strathclyde University Law School, where I'm Director of the Centre for Law, Crime and Justice, and programme director of the LLM / MSc in Criminal Justice & Penal Change.

I've conducted and published research into criminal justice in Scotland and abroad, including: the impact of legal aid reforms, plea decision-making ('not guilty' versus 'guilty' pleas) and plea negotiation, lawyer-client relations, penal policy and public attitudes, the role of pre-sentence reports, mitigation and individualisation, sentencing, executive release decision-making, and the use of information technology (including, for example, the introduction of a Sentencing Information System for the High Court).

Regularly invited to speak to policy and practice audiences at home and around the world, for example, I'm currently giving public lectures on sustainable ways of reducing the use of imprisonment.

A regular contributor to Parliamentary and other official inquiries into justice, I have also served as an Adviser to governments in several countries, for example recently the senior judiciary and court service of the Republic of Ireland.  I am currently academic Adviser to the Review of Sentencing Policy in N, Ireland.

I'm also founder and Chair of the European Group on Sentencing and Penal Decision-Making (a network of academic, policy and practice members in over 25 countries).

Currently, I am working on five externally-funded research projects.

I am leading an exploratory study of Senteincing & Communication, which observes the sentencing hearing and explores the perspectives of the judicial sentencer, defence lawyer and sentenced person so as to shed light on effective practices and systemic or other barriers to successful communications.

I'm leading a review of the law, jurisprudence, public attitudes and international evidence relating to Sentencing Discounting in respect of Guilty Pleas (with Jay Gormley and Dr Rachel McPherson) commissioned by the Scottish Sentencing Council.

I'm working, (with partners in Sweden, Italy and the USA), on an EU-funded research study into cognition and emotions in the criminal process entitled 'Just Emotions'.

Purusing my long-standing interests in penal policy, I am conducting quantitative research (with Ipsos) into public knowledge about and attitudes to sentencing in general. In a separate qualitative study (with ScotCen) I'm examining Public Knowledge of and Attitudes to Sentencing, including in cases of Sexual Offence and Causing Death by Driving Offences. I'm also conducting a review (with R McPherson et al) for the Scottish Sentencing Council about the state of international knowledge about sentencing in sexual offence (including rape) cases.

Extending my work into mitigation and individualisation in the criminal-penal process, I am developing (with Prof Stewart Field, Cardiff) a comparative book project which reconceptualises the presentation and interpretation of Remorse and Responsibility and the expectations in different countries of 'the ideal defendant' (to be published by Hart Bloomsbury- Onati International Series Law & Society Series).

My new book Sentencing as a Social Process: Re-thinking Research and Policy will be published in the Palgrave Socio-Legal Series in 2020. It was recently nominated for the UK Socio-Legal Studies Book Prize.

In 2017 I was invited and elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Currently Director of Post-Graduate Research (with Dr Saskia Vermeylen).

See also my Google Scholar Page:


Has expertise in:

    • Sentencing Processes

    • Penal Policy and Penal Decision-Making

    • Pre Sentence Processes

    • Plea Decision Making ('Not Guilty' and 'Guilty' Pleas)
    • Executive Release from prison

    • Criminal Process including plea decision-making, legal aid, prosecution and defence work

    • Access to Justice

    • Law, Discretion and Justice

    • The Use of Information and Communications Technology in Decision-Making


Public Perceptions of Sentencing : Qualitative Research Exploring Causing Death by Driving Offences
Reid Susan, Biggs Hannah, Attygalle Kaushi, Vosnaki Konstantina, McPherson Rachel, Tata Cyrus
Sexual Offences Involving Rape
McPherson Rachel, Burgess Nicholas, Gormley Jay, Tata Cyrus
Sexual Offences Involving Sexual Assault
McPherson Rachel, Gormley Jay, Burgess Nicholas, Tata Cyrus
Sentence Discounting : Sentencing and Plea Decision-Making
Gormley Jay, McPherson Rachel, Tata Cyrus
Remorse and sentencing in a world of plea bargaining
Gormley Jay, Tata Cyrus
Remorse and Criminal Justice (2020) (2020)
Sentencing : A Social Process : Re-thinking Research and Policy
Tata Cyrus
Socio-Legal Series Socio-Legal Series (2020)

More publications

Professional activities

Association of Political Science France - Annual Congress
Keynote/plenary speaker
Ending the Revolving Prison Door
Invited speaker
Judging Judges, Judging Sentencing: Studying Judicial Work as a Social Process
Keynote speaker
Sentencing and the Use of Short Prison Sentences: Reform in Scotland and in England & Wales (video recording)
Keynote speaker
Short Prison Sentencing Reform
Keynote/plenary speaker
Sentencing Reform - Invited Speaker
Keynote speaker

More professional activities


Invited to Private Meeting with Cabinet Secretary for Justice to discuss penal policy
Tata, Cyrus (Principal Investigator)
20-Jan-2019 - 20-Jan-2019
Academic Member of High-Level Advisory Group for Justice, Care Inspectorate
Tata, Cyrus (Principal Investigator)
Criminal Justice Social Work and Community Justice
30-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2020
JUSTEMOTIONS The construction of objectivity - An international perspective on the emotive-cognitive process of judicial decision-making
Tata, Cyrus (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2023
Communicating Sentencing: an Exploratory Study
Tata, Cyrus (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2020

More projects