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 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.


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'.

My new book Sentencing as a Social Process: Re-thinking Research and Policy will be published in the Palgrave Socio-Legal Series in 2019.

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

See also my Google Scholar Page:


Has expertise in:

    • Sentencing Processes

    • Penal Policy and Penal Decision-Making

    • Pre Sentence Processes

    • 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


Selling 'alternatives to prison' to judicial consumers : why the market logic fails
Tata Cyrus
'Ritual individualisation' : creative genius at sentencing, mitigation and conviction
Tata Cyrus
Journal of Law and Society Vol 46, pp. 112-140 (2019)
Reducing prison sentencing through pre-sentence reports? Why the quasi-market logic of 'selling alternatives to custody' fails
Tata Cyrus
The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice (formerly The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice) Vol 57, pp. 472-494 (2018)
To plead or not to plead? 'Guilty' is the question : re-thinking plea decision-making in anglo-american countries
Tata Cyrus, Gormley Jay
Sentencing Policies and Practices in the 21st Century (2018) (2018)
Causing Death by Driving Offences : Literature Review
McPherson Rachel, Tata Cyrus
Just Emotions? The need for emotionally-intelligent justice policy
Tata Cyrus, Jamieson Fiona
5 (2017)

more publications

Professional activities

BBC Radio 4 Documentary Interview - Community Justice & Penal Policy
Cultures of Sentencing & Penal Decision-Making: A European Conference
Australian Research Council (Publisher)
Peer reviewer
BBC Radio 4 Documentary on 'Remorse' - Interview
The Times (p2) - Interviewed and Quoted about Sentencing Policy
BBC TV News: Interview about Community Penalties

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 - 28-Jan-2019
Using big data analytics and genetic algorithms to predict street crime
Bellingham, Richard (Principal Investigator) Andonovic, Ivan (Co-investigator) Fedorov, Maxim (Co-investigator) Quigley, John (Co-investigator) Rogerson, Robert (Co-investigator) Tata, Cyrus (Co-investigator)
Street crime and fear of street crime have significant adverse impacts on individual lives, the use and regeneration of urban areas, the ability to attract businesses and investment, the price of property, and the ability of citizens to live full and creative lives. Previous studies have examined the relationships between a range of social, economic and situational factors and levels and predictability of crime using a range of techniques. However the impact of altering these factors (where they can be influenced), and how such measures might be combined with other potential crime reduction measures are not fully understood.

This research aims to achieve new insights into the pattern of crime in cities using big data analytics to analyse the relationships between multiple datasets and levels of crime, and use genetic algorithms to derive innovative optimised strategies that result in lower levels of street crime alongside balancing other objectives - such as lower service costs (eg from improved design of street lighting, and policing patterns), lower carbon emissions, and improved public confidence and acceptance. These strategies will be tested through using the city as a living lab, drawing on Glasgow's Technology Strategy Board (TSB) City Demonstrator role.
01-Jan-2013 - 30-Jan-2015

more projects