Posted Tuesday 26 July 2022
Kingston University has applauded the achievements of former Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC with an honorary doctorate marking his outstanding contributions to law and civil liberties. The former Conservative MP for Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire received his award at a ceremony thronging with law graduates from the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences at the Rose Theatre in Kingston.
Mr Grieve was elected as an MP in 1997 and held his seat until 2019. He served as Attorney General – the most senior legal adviser to the Crown and government in the United Kingdom – in the 2010-2014 Coalition Government.
Most of his career has been spent applying law in the political sphere. He counts changing the law on incitement to religious hatred, contributing to the defeat of Labour's policy on 90-day pre-charge detention for terrorist suspects and getting the Hillsborough disaster inquest re-opened among his most significant achievements.
Mr Grieve said an equal society should always be a priority for governments. "I'm a great believer in the rule of law and in creating a society that protects minorities and treats people fairly," he said. "During my 17 years as a full-time barrister, I learned that these things matter and I tried to apply that to my work in politics. I came to the view that if people weren't constantly reminded about creating an equal society, it could easily become neglected."
Mr Grieve graduated in 1978 from the University of Oxford, where he studied modern history. While there, he had his first foray into politics as President of the Oxford University Conservative Association.
He pursued law at the Polytechnic of Central London, now the University of Westminster, and was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple in 1980. He was made a Bencher of the Middle Temple in 2005 and appointed a Queen's Counsel in 2008.
Legal training was an excellent foundation for many careers and for life in general and shouldn't only be viewed as a pathway to becoming a lawyer, Mr Grieve said. "Whatever career you choose, a human society operates by people working together within a framework of rules. Understanding why the rules exist and how they can operate – unfairly, as well as fairly – is extremely important," he said.
Addressing Kingston University graduates collecting their certificates, Mr Grieve said they should be proud of their achievements. "Kingston University graduates have acquired skills that can be applied both for their own benefit, in terms of fulfilling their life ambitions, but also for the benefit of others," he added. "If they marry those two things together, they will lead very fulfilling and interesting lives."
Mr Grieve already has close connections with the borough. He has previously given talks to law students at Kingston University and has held the office of Honorary Recorder for the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames since 2012.
Since leaving Ministerial office in 2014, he has concentrated on the current debate on balancing civil liberties and human rights with security. He has been commended for his commitment to civil liberties with a Human Rights Lifetime Achievement Award by campaigning non-profit organisation Liberty.
Acting Dean of the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences Professor Javier Ortega paid tribute to Mr Grieve. "Dominic Grieve QC has long defended the rule of law and the role of Parliament, in line with the historical contribution of the UK to democratic values . He is a true inspiration to all Kingston University students graduating this summer," he said.
Mr Grieve is a visiting professor in law, politics and human rights at Goldsmiths, University of London, a trustee of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, a member of the Council of Management of the Ditchley Foundation and President of the Franco-British Society.