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Press Release - 07 December 2006

Baroness Helena Kennedy to receive honorary degree at Bath

The civil liberties campaigner Baroness Helena Kennedy will be awarded an honorary degree by the University of Bath on Wednesday 13 December. She receives the degree of Doctor of Education at a ceremony in the Assembly Rooms at 10-30am.

Lord Joel Joffe, the lawyer who represented Nelson Mandela at his trial in South Africa, will receive a Doctor of Laws degree at a later ceremony that day. The other honorary graduand is Philip Williamson, Chief Executive of the Nationwide Building Society, who receives the degree of Doctor of Business Administration.

In all there will be six ceremonies on December 12 and December 13, at which 600 students will receive their degree awards.

Baroness Kennedy is highly regarded both nationally and internationally for her work as a leading criminal lawyer on cases including the Brighton Bombing and the Guildford Four appeal.

Since 1997 she has also been a life peer, speaking in the House of Lords on issues including human rights, civil liberties and social justice. She chairs the Human Genetics Commission and chaired the inquiry into sudden infant death following the miscarriages of justice when some mothers were wrongly accused of murdering their babies.

As well as in law, Baroness Kennedy has also used her skills to the area of education. She served as a commissioner on the National Commission for Education, and she set up the Helena Kennedy Foundation to help disadvantaged students succeed in higher education.

Lord Joel Joffe represented Nelson Mandela in the Rivonia trial in 1963 and 1964 when ten leaders of the African National Congress were tried for activities designed to “ferment violent revolution”.

In 1965 he settled in the UK and worked as a policy checker with Abbey Life Assurance in London, before co-founding the financial services company Allied Dunbar. His concern for human rights is reflected in his work as former chair of Oxfam and with other charities, and he has also campaigned for voluntary euthanasia. He lives in Swindon.

Philip Williamson is the Chief Executive of the Nationwide Building Society. He ensured that it kept its mutual status and did not convert to a public limited company, as many other building societies have done. Membership has grown dramatically under his leadership and he has campaigned against unacceptable practices in the financial services. He has also championed community activity by businesses, including the Nationwide’s support for a children’s charity.

The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. In 16 subject areas the University of Bath is rated in the top ten in the country. View a full list of the University's press releases:


Baroness Helena Kennedy
Baroness Helena Kennedy
Lord Joffe
Lord Joffe
Philip Williamson
Philip Williamson



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