Nigel Balmer

Nigel Balmer

  • Visiting Professor of Law

Nigel is Research Director at the Victoria Law Foundation (Australia), Honorary Professor at the Faculty of Laws, University College London (UK) and an independent researcher and consultant. Previously, he was Professor of the University of London and Chair of Law and Social Statistics at UCL, one of the world’s leading universities, and Head of Data, Design and Analysis at PPL.

He is a leading international expert in empirical access to justice research. His work aims to enhance the accessibility and equality of justice, moving towards a system more in line with people’s needs and capabilities. He has a specific interest in the application of social science and modern quantitative methods to explore how the public understand and interact with the law. He is also a Chartered Statistician (Royal Statistical Society) and Chartered Scientist (Science Council/Institute of Mathematics and its Applications).

Nigel’s research is multidisciplinary and collaborative, adapting methods from disciplines including psychology, epidemiology, education and statistics. His interests include exploring the role of law in everyday life, legal capability, the experience of legal problems, the interaction between legal and health issues, legal service design, empirical methodology and statistics. He has also published highly cited research in sports science/sports psychology.

His work is methodologically innovative, and he has been among the first to introduce a number of methods into legal research; including multilevel modelling, discrete time event history analysis and modern psychometrics (for legal capability scale development). He has published over 130 academic papers, reports, book chapters and books, including research in leading journals in law, social policy, epidemiology, geography and health. Much of his research is designed for a policy audience and his survey work has become central to the development of access to justice policy. This has included recent work setting out global guidance on legal needs surveys and access to justice (for OECD and Open Society Foundations) - supporting global access to justice initiatives and progress under the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal 16.

Nigel’s current projects include the Public Understanding of Law Survey (PULS) – an innovative large scale face-to-face survey combining measurement of legal need and legal capability, work on the use and utility of civil justice system administrative data, survey research on those working in the community legal sector, and legal capability scale development.