An investigation of the role of juror bias in rape trial verdict outcomes

Research Institution / Organisation

University of Huddersfield

In Collaboration With

Specialist support / consultation provided by West Yorkshire Police & Cheshire Constabulary

Principal Researcher

Dominic Willmott

Level of Research


Project Start Date

August 2015

Research Context

​The aim of this project is to examine the role of juror psychological and attitudinal bias in rape trial verdict outcomes.

Official statistics, police officers and the CPS often report poor conviction rates in rape trials, particularly acquaintance rape cases where the defendant is known to the complainant. This research seeks to recreate a rape trial with support of SSO police officers and criminal barristers to examine the extent to which juror bias may account for poor conviction rates generally achieved.

Research Methodology

​This research involves an experimental design, whereby a total of 450+ 'jurors' took part in mock rape trials and studied to examine the extent to which bias underpinned the decisions they made as an individual pre and post-deliberation as well as collective verdicts.

Interim reports and publications

Willmott, Dominic (2017) An Examination of the Relationship between Juror Attitudes, Psychological Constructs, and Verdict Decisions within Rape Trials. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Juries in Rape Trials: Balanced or Biased? Nigel Booth, Dominic Willmott and Daniel Boduszek; Criminal Law and Justice Weekly

Willmott, D., Boduszek, D. and Booth, N. (2017). The English Jury on Trial. The Custodial Review, 82, 12-14.

Dr Dominic Willmott: Is jury bias preventing justice for rape victims? The Conversation; June 9 2016

Date due for completion

October 2019
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