Lord Brian Kerr, Justice of the UK Supreme Court and former Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, is this year’s Queen’s University Graduate of the Year.
He is receiving the award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to public life, to the legal profession in Northern Ireland, and to student life at Queen’s University, Belfast.
Also being honoured at this evening’s special ceremony is Toomebridge student Owen McMeel who will receive the university’s coveted Student of the Year Award.
Lord Kerr graduated from Queen’s back in 1969, before embarking on a distinguished legal career which saw him appointed a Judge of the High Court and knighted in 1993.
He was in charge of judicial review in Northern Ireland from 1995, sat as an ad-hoc judge in the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg, and travelled extensively in the United States as an Eisenhower Exchange Fellow in 1999, studying the administration of justice and court practice in America.
He served as Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland from 2004 until 2009, when he became one of the inaugural Justices of the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
As Supreme Court Justice, Lord Kerr has officiated in several high-profile cases.
In recent weeks, along with his colleagues, he has been deliberating on the extradition case of the famous Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.
Alongside his illustrious legal career, Lord Kerr has also made an ongoing contribution to life at his alma mater.
He is a regular attendee and speaker at events at the university’s School of Law and the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, sharing his wealth of knowledge and expertise with a new generation of legal minds.
The university marked his contribution to public life in 2009 with the conferment of an honorary degree.