Introducing the University's new Chancellor

— 24.11.15

by Simon Spode

The Rt Hon Lady Justice Rafferty DBE was installed as the eighth Chancellor of the University of Sheffield on Thursday 26 November 2015.

A graduate of our University and a Lord Justice of Appeal, Dame Anne’s individual qualities and professional achievements fit her for this unique ambassadorial role.

She entered the Law Faculty at Sheffield as an undergraduate student in 1968, when the modern Western Bank campus was taking shape and new halls of residence were being built in the Broomhill suburbs.

On graduating with a degree in Law (LLB) in 1971, she qualified as a barrister and was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in 1973. She built her practice in criminal law and rose rapidly through the ranks of the legal profession, taking silk in 1990.

She was appointed a Recorder in 1991, a Deputy High Court Judge in 1996 and was made a Bencher of Gray’s Inn in 1998. She was appointed to the High Court (Queen's Bench Division) and Dame of the British Empire in 2000.

She was a Presiding Judge of the South Eastern Circuit between 2003 and 2006, encompassing the entire area from East Anglia and Oxford through the Home Counties to the southern counties. She was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2011.

Dame Anne suggested and wrote that part of the 1989 Pigot Committee recommendation which transformed cross-examination of the young or vulnerable and is the basis of recent legislation separating that exercise from the trial. She was a member of the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice, set up following the release of the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six and which led to the Criminal Appeal Act in 1995.

Dame Anne has also held a number of senior positions within the profession, including Chairmanship of the Criminal Bar Association and of the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee.

In 2014, she was appointed Chairman of the Board of the Judicial College, which is responsible for the training of the 36,000 judicial office-holders in England and Wales, and tribunals in the UK.

She is also a Trustee of the Kalisher Trust, which supports those who aspire to become criminal barristers and shows school-age students that skills of the lawyer are useful across the board. In 2005, Dame Anne was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by our University for her substantial contribution to the judicial system of this country.

The Chancellor's full Instalation speech is available here.

Previous Chancellors of the University of Sheffield

  • 1999-2015 Sir Peter Middleton
  • 1979-1997 Rt Hon The Lord Dainton of Hallam Moors
  • 1959-1977 Rt Hon Richard (Rab) Butler, Baron Butler of Saffron Walden
  • 1947-1959 Rt Hon The Earl of Halifax
  • 1944-1947 Rt Hon The Earl of Harewood
  • 1917-1944 The Most Hon The Marquess of Crewe
  • 1905-1917 His Grace the 15th Duke of Norfolk


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