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Oration for Lady Hale upon award of an Honorary Fellowship at the University of Bristol

Press release issued: 21 September 2017

In July 2017, the University of Bristol awarded an Honorary Fellowship to its former Chancellor the Right Honourable the Baroness Hale of Richmond, DBE. Professor Joanne Conaghan, Head of the University of Bristol Law School, had the honour of writing the Oration for Lady Hale.

In her Oration for the 2017 Honorary Fellowship award event, Professor Conaghan highlighted the many strengths and achievements of Lady Hale in a career dedicated to the law as it applies to those most vulnerable, such as in the areas of mental health and family law, and to combat inequality, in particular on the basis of gender. An instrumental part of law reform projects concerning these areas, she has also adjudicated in a wide range of cases, earning a reputation for her strong stance on human rights and social justice.

Among many glass ceiling shattering achievements, Lady Hale was the first woman to Judicial Committee of the House of Lords, as well as being one of the first justices when the House of Lords transitioned to the Supreme Court in 2009, again as the only woman in the cohort. She went on to become Deputy President of the Court, and will be sworn in officially as President of the Supreme Court on 2 October 2017.

In her oration, Professor Joanne Conaghan stated that “an Honorary Fellowship is the highest honour the University of Bristol can bestow. The title is usually conferred on someone who has attained distinction in their academic field and/or has contributed consistently and over a significant period of time to the life of the University. Brenda, Lady Hale, combines a lifetime of unprecedented academic and professional achievement with true humanity and generosity of spirit. She is a model of good living from which countless numbers of University of Bristol graduates have drawn inspiration.”

To read the full text of Professor Joanne Conaghan’s oration, please visit the the University of Bristol Law School Blog.

Further information

The Right Honourable the Baroness Hale of Richmond held the position of Chancellor of the University of Bristol for 13 years, stepping down in 2016. For further information about Lady Hale's appointment as President of the Supreme Court, please see the Supreme Court's news release article.

Professor Joanne Conaghan is Professor of Law and Head of School, University of Bristol, UK. A graduate and postgraduate of St Hugh’s College Oxford, and previous Head of the Law School at the University of Kent, Joanne has written extensively about issues relating to gender and law and is widely recognized as a leading scholar in that field, both nationally and internationally.

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