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The University of Law awards honorary doctorates to human rights and criminology leaders

The University of Law (ULaw) has awarded honorary doctorates to three leaders in the legal profession, during its graduation ceremonies on the 13 and 14 May.

Frances Swaine, Emeritus Professor David Wilson and Adam Wagner have all received the prestigious award from the University in recognition of their commitment to their field and ongoing contributions to the world of law and criminology.

Frances Swaine, consultant solicitor, began her career working in medical negligence and is now an experienced Human Rights lawyer. In 2001, Frances set up the country’s first Human Rights Department, bringing together colleagues across private and public law to protect the rights of the individual.

Throughout her career Frances has been a leading figure in diversifying the legal profession, responsible for the introduction of the Black Solicitor Apprenticeship Programme alongside ULaw. Currently, Frances works in the Immigration and Asylum Team, for those applying to the Windrush Status and Compensation Scheme for asylum seekers and for those who have suffered race discrimination in any area of life.

Commenting on her honorary doctorate, Frances said: “I feel very honoured to have been chosen as a representative of the legal profession for an Honorary Doctorate when there are so many in the legal field who have also achieved so much. It is very special to me that my legal career, looking back down the telescope of many decades now, can be seen by The University of Law as worthy of such commendation.”

Continuing in the realm of human rights Adam Wagner, a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, has also been recognised by the University. Adam has appeared in some of the leading human rights cases and public inquiries of recent years. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he acted in numerous ground-breaking cases, involving the right to protest, hotel quarantine and the police investigation of lockdown parties in Downing Street. He was the Specialist Advisor to Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Adam is a leading Public Advocate for human rights and the rule of law. He regularly writes and comments in the media and has pioneered a number of human rights public education initiatives, including the UK Human Rights Blog and the award-winning charity, Each Other. Earlier this year, Adam won the Halsbury’s Rule of Law award.

Speaking on his recognition from ULaw, Adam said: “It is a huge privilege to be given this award. Lawyers play an important role in society and at the heart of the legal community is legal education. The University of Law has long trained future generations of lawyers and I am honoured to be invited to become part of its community.”

In criminology, Emeritus Professor David Wilson has also been awarded an honorary doctorate. A leading voice in criminology and the prison system, David regularly appears on TV and radio as well as authoring over 20 books. A former Prison Governor, he is an expert in violence, particularly murder and serial murder, and in 2016 he won the Broadcast and Royal Television Society Awards for his Channel 4 documentary, Interview with a Murderer.

Speaking of his award, David said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by The University of Law. There is inevitably a close association – and sometimes a tension - between criminology and law but I hope that I can use this honour to promote the common interests of these two disciplines.”

Professor Andrea Nollent, Vice Chancellor and CEO at ULaw, added: “It is our great pleasure to be able to recognise such strong voices in their respective fields during our graduation ceremonies. The topics of human rights, crime and the prison system have perhaps never been more important and are crucial talking points in the UK legal system. Each of the recipients of our honorary doctorates have outstanding careers, and will be inspirational for our graduates.”