Helena Kennedy

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Baroness Helena Kennedy is a leading British criminal lawyer as well as a life peer - she was elevated to the House of Lords in 1997. Her practice of law as a barrister – she is a member of the Doughty Street Chambers in London – has involved a large number of prominent cases. These include the Brighton Bombing, the Michael Bettany espionage trial, the Guildford Four appeal and the bombing of the Israeli embassy. She has also acted for many battered women who have killed their husbands. Kennedy is a frequent broadcaster and journalist on law and women's rights and was the creator of the BBC television series Blind Justice in 1987[1]. Her book on women in the British criminal justice system, Eve was Framed, was published in 1992.

Kennedy is Vice-President of the Haldane Society, the Association of Women Barristers and a Patron of Liberty. She chaired the Commission of Inquiry into Violence in Penal Institutions for Young People and the Commission¹s report Banged Up, Beaten Up, Cutting Up was published in 1995. She is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and a Fellow of the City and Guilds of London Institute. A member of the Foreign Policy Centre's Advisory Council, she is also a Bencher of Gray's Inn and a Member of the House of Lords.

She is President of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She is a member of the French Academie Universelle des Cultures, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and President of the National Children's Bureau. As commissioner on the National Commission for Education, she chaired a committee on widening participation in further education and the commission¹s seminal report, Learning Works, was published in 1997. In 1999 she became a member of the World Bank Institute's External Advisory Council. She was a member of the International Bar Association's Task Force on Terrorism which reported in 2003.

Helena Kennedy created the BBC television series Blind Justice in 1987 and presented the BBC¹s Heart of the Matter (1987), Raw Deal, on medical negligence, (1989), The Trial of Lady Chatterley's Lover (1990) and Time Gentlemen, Please (1994) and she was the first female moderator of the BBC's Hypotheticals. She has presented Channel 4's After Dark throughout the 80's and continues to present them in the current series on BBC 4. Her latest book, Just Law, on the changing face of justice and why it matters to us all was published in March 2004.

She has received 20 honorary doctorates from universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland and two from Russia. She was awarded the UK 'Woman of Europe' award in 1995, and a 'Making a world of difference' award from the National Federation of Women's Institutes in 1996. She was also the recipient of The Times' 'Lifetime Achievement in the Law' award from the Women Lawyers' Conference in 1996. A foundation to help disadvantaged students into higher education has been established in her name: The Helena Kennedy Foundation. Kennedy grew up in Glasgow.[2]







  1. ^Pettitt, Lance (2000), Screening Ireland: Film and television representation' retrieved July 11th 2007 from http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/images/cinema/pettitt/pettitt00.htm
  2. ^ Information taken from Helena Kennedy website[3]