University of Sheffield alumni make history at Court of Appeal
Earlier this month for the first time in history, the Court of Appeal had an all-Sheffield alumni bench. The judges sitting were Lord Justice Maurice Kay (LLB Law, 1964; PhD Law, 1971 and Hon LLD, 2003), Lady Justice Anne Rafferty (LLB Law, 1971 and Hon LLD, 2005) and Lady Justice Julia Macur (LLB Law, 1978).
This event was also extremely significant because outside Oxford and Cambridge, Sheffield now has the record for the highest number of graduates appointed to the bench above any other UK University.
Lord Justice Kay has established himself as an acclaimed academic, barrister and Judge, having been promoted to the Court of Appeal in 2004. He is currently Vice-President of the Court of Appeal and Treasurer of The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn. Lady Justice Macur was assigned to the Court of Appeal in October 2013, after having been appointed by the Home Secretary to investigate the terms of the Waterhouse Inquiry into the North Wales child abuse scandal. Lady Justice Rafferty was the first ever female chairman of the Criminal Bar Association and in 2011 joined the Court of Appeal.
The case under discussion at the Court of Appeal involved Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, which relates to the powers of the police to stop and search. The Court of Appeal discussed the compatibility of Section 60 with Article 5 – the right to liberty and security of person – and Article 8 – the right to respect for one’s private and family life, home and correspondence – of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Professor Claire McGourlay, a fellow of The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn and University of Sheffield teacher, and Rivka Smith, a third year LLB Law and Criminology student at the University travelled down to the Royal Courts of Justice in London to watch the first day of proceedings.
Current student Rivka commented, “Observing the case enhanced my understanding of the law and legal proceedings. I was very impressed with the advocacy techniques of both sides. This experience is something that cannot be taught by academics. I was proud to be there on such a memorable day for the University of Sheffield and was honoured to have met some of our most prestigious law alumni.”