The Right Honourable The Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury was installed as Chancellor at The University of Law at a special event held at the Moorgate Campus this week.
An audience made up of distinguished guests, Honorary Doctorates, Visiting Professors, Alumni and senior University staff attended to listen to the installation speeches and enjoy drinks, canapes and networking.
Lord David Blunkett, the University’s Chairman, made the opening speech introducing David, Lord Neuberger and welcoming him to the role of chancellor.
Lord Blunkett explained that Lord Neuberger was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1974 and became a Queen’s Counsel in 1987, receiving a knighthood in 1996 when he became a judge. He was made a life peer as Baron Neuberger of Abbotsbury in 2007.
He took up the role of President of the Supreme Court in October 2012 - overseeing some of the UK’s most high-profile cases - before retiring from the role in September 2017.
Lord Blunkett said that he knew Lord Neuberger had already presided over three graduation ceremonies and during his speech to the graduating students had told them that the climb to the top of the legal profession was more fun than being there. Lord Blunkett said he could confirm this from his own experiences and joked that he “was now on the way back down the ladder”.
Professor Andrea Nollent, Vice-Chancellor and CEO at The University of Law, made the installation speech and started by paying tribute to the former Chancellor, Dame Fiona Woolf.
“Dame Fiona has brought all her experience as Lord Mayor of London and President of the Law Society of England and Wales to the role and we are deeply grateful for her inspiration and guidance,” she said.
Andrea said she was delighted to welcome David, Lord Neuberger and thanked him for the enthusiasm in which he embraced the invitation to become the new Chancellor. “Lord Neuberger shares The University of Law’s passion for higher education and the value it brings to society and to the economy.”
Andrea described Lord Neuberger’s career as “stellar” before going on to talk about some of the ground-breaking cases Lord Neuberger had presided over during his time at the Supreme Court.
She also paid tribute to those working at and with The University of Law: “There is so much for us to be proud of and I would like to thank all of you for the part you have played in our many and varied achievements over the last few years. This is a wonderful university striving to expand and reach new heights. We look forward to building on this under our new Chancellor.”
Lord Neuberger started his acceptance speech by saying he was very pleased to be the University’s new Chancellor.
He said education was vital for everyone: “Ignorance leads to intolerance of others and we already live in an unequal society. People have different backgrounds and getting an education can be difficult. Universities have a duty to embrace diversity and to do something about this,” he said.
“The Rule of Law much be protected. Education is vital. The Rule of Law depends on students becoming good lawyers. Studying law is good even if you take a different career path. Many politicians have law degrees and this helps judges and politicians to work well together.”
Lord Neuberger said that it was a fact of life that as you get older you spend more time with older people, his grandchildren aside. “This role gives me more opportunity to mix with younger people and to hear their views on the Rule of Law”.
Referring to his role as President of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger smiled as he said: “You think that when you take up that role it’s good because as the highest court in the land no-one can overturn your decision. Then the next day you read in the media a critique of your decision and why it’s wrong and that thought evaporates very quickly”.