Issue date: 26 November 2010
The University of the West of England will award the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University to Ann Elizabeth Oldfield Butler-Sloss GBE PC in recognition of her significant contribution to the University and society through her national and international work.
The Honorary Degree will be conferred at the Awards Ceremony of Bristol Law School on Friday 26 November at Bristol Cathedral at 14.00.
Elizabeth Butler-Sloss (nee Havers) GBE PC became Chancellor of UWE in 1993.
Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor, said, “Lady Butler-Sloss has been an outstanding Chancellor seeing the University develop over the past 17 years. Her guidance, support and clarity of thought has provided direction and leadership to three Vice-Chancellors over that time. As Chancellor she has represented and promoted UWE nationally and internationally. She is a fantastic ambassador and I have personally valued her support and guidance. As a University we have been incredibly fortunate to have had her as our Chancellor.
“Lady Butler-Sloss as the ceremonial figurehead of UWE has been our shining beacon. Although she has signalled her desire to retire during this academic year she will continue to support and represent us having graciously accepted our invitation to become our Chancellor Emeritus upon her retirement. I am sure the entire University will be delighted by this and would want to wish her a long, happy and healthy retirement. Thank you for everything you have done but most importantly thank you for being you-a fantastic Chancellor and a truly remarkable lady. ”
Elizabeth Havers, the daughter of a High Court judge, decided at the age of 12 that she too would become a barrister. After attending Wycombe Abbey School, she was called to the Bar in 1955. At the age of 25 she married Joseph Butler-Sloss, also a barrister and later a High Court judge in Kenya.
At the Bar, Elizabeth Butler-Sloss specialised in family law before her appointment to the Principal Registry of the Family Division of the High Court in 1970. In 1979 she became a High Court judge and was created a Dame of the British Empire in the same year. In 1987-88 she chaired the Cleveland Sex Abuse Inquiry, the outcome of which has had a significant effect on social work practice. Later that year, she became a Privy Councillor and was appointed to the Court of Appeal, the first woman judge to sit in that court. She was President of the Family Division of the High Court from 1999 to April 2005. In addition, she was Chairperson of the Security Commission until 2005.
In 2002, Elizabeth Butler-Sloss chaired the Commission for the appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury. She was Chairperson of St Paul's Cathedral Council and is a Governor of Merchant Taylor's School. She has also been chairperson of the Selection Panel for Queen's Counsel. She is Visitor and an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford and an Honorary Fellow of several medical colleges.
Elizabeth Butler-Sloss became Dame Grand Cross of the British Empire in 2005 and was appointed to the House of Lords as a non-political peer in 2006.