UWE awards honorary degree to Sir John Royce

Issue date: 14 November 2005


Issue date: 14/11/05

The University of the West of England is awarding the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws to Sir John Royce in recognition of Sir John’s outstanding example and contribution to the legal community, particularly in Bristol and the West of England. The honorary degree will be conferred at the Award Ceremony of the Faculty of Law on Thursday 17 November at 14.45 at Bristol Cathedral.

Roger John Royce was born in Virginia Water, Surrey and attended The Leys School, Cambridge. He later read Law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

He began practice as a solicitor in 1969 with Coward Chance in London before deciding to change to the Bar. Initially a pupil in a set of common law chambers in London, John Royce moved to Guildhall Chambers in Bristol in 1970. There he undertook a variety of common law work and in 1986 was appointed Recorder.

After ‘taking silk’ as a Queen’s Counsel in 1987, John Royce became Head of Guildhall Chambers in 1988. In 1993, he was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division and in 1998, stood down as Head of Chambers on being elected Leader of the Western Circuit.

As well as advising on or appearing in many criminal cases, some of considerable importance, John Royce acted as counsel to a major public enquiry into the Ashworth High Security Hospital in Liverpool.

In 2002, John Royce was appointed a High Court Judge, the first ever to be appointed from the Bristol Bar.

Sir John believes passionately in the importance of links between universities and the legal profession. He has given seminars at the University of the West of England and acted as its advisor on matters of course development. Since his appointment as a High Court Judge, he has enabled university students to gain valuable experience in observing court proceedings.

Whilst at university John Royce was a Cambridge Hockey Blue and he later became captain of the Somerset hockey team. He also qualified as an Austrian ski instructor. In 2002, he served as Master of the Antient Society of St Stephen’s Ringers. He is a Commandeur of the Commanderie de Bordeaux in Bristol. His entry in Who’s Who lists his recreations as: cricket, ski-ing, golf and collecting corkscrews.

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