New chancellor nominated
Press release issued: 23 May 2003
The Right Honourable Lady Justice Hale, DBE, appeal court judge and distinguished legal scholar, looks set to become the University of Bristol's next Chancellor.
She has been nominated by Council, the University's executive body, to succeed Sir Jeremy Morse, the Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and former Lloyds Bank Chairman who has been Chancellor since 1989. He has chosen to retire in December 2003 and Court, the University's supreme governing body, will formally elect his successor. Previous Chancellors include Sir Winston Churchill and Nobel Prize-winning Dorothy Hodgkin.
Dame Brenda Hale has achieved distinction as an academic lawyer, law reformer and judge.
She studied Law at Cambridge and received her year's only starred First for exceptional distinction in that subject. In 1966 she became an academic at the University of Manchester, eventually specialising in social welfare and family law. She also studied for the Bar, topping the list in the Bar finals in 1968 and then practising part time as a barrister. She was appointed a Queen's Counsel in 1989.
In 1984, Dame Brenda became the youngest person and the first woman ever to be appointed to the Law Commission. Over the course of a decade she instigated a number of key reforms. She led the work that produced the Children Act 1989 - a radical re-casting of the relationship between parents, children and the State - and the important domestic violence legislation that formed part of the Family Law Act 1996.
Dame Brenda was appointed a High Court judge in 1994 and a Lady Justice of Appeal in 1999, only the second woman to reach that position. Her long-standing interest in and support for socio-legal studies has brought many links with the University of Bristol, which in 2002 made her an honorary Doctor of Laws.
The Chancellor is the University's chief figurehead, confers degrees at graduation ceremonies, chairs Court and supports fundraising efforts.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eric Thomas, who is the University's academic leader and chief executive, said: "Sir Jeremy has been a superb Chancellor and will be a very hard act to follow, but I have no doubt that Dame Brenda Hale is up to the task.
"She has the wisdom and intellect, the experience and the personal qualities that the role demands. As an example to Bristol students and as an advocate and mentor for the University, she will be an inspiration."
Dame Brenda said: "I hold Bristol in high regard as one of the UK's foremost universities. Its reputation for excellence in teaching and research is formidable. I will be very proud to become Chancellor if that is the wish of the University's Court."