University of Sheffield appoints new Chancellor

The University of Sheffield is delighted to announce that, following the retirement of its current Chancellor Sir Peter Middleton in summer 2015, its new Chancellor will be The Right Honourable Lady Justice Rafferty, DBE – a graduate of the University and a Lord Justice of Appeal since 2011.

Rt Hon Lady Justice Rafferty, DBEThe Chancellor is the senior lay Officer of the University and empowered to confer degrees and other academic awards.

The appointment was approved by the University Council and follows a period in which University students, staff, alumni and friends were invited to nominate individuals who united a strong belief in universities and their transformational importance to society with the professional and personal qualities to serve in this unique ambassadorial role.

Lady Justice Rafferty read Law at the University of Sheffield, graduating with an LLB in 1971, beginning her pupillage in 1974. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1990 and a Recorder of the Crown Court in 1991.

In an outstanding career, Dame Anne has served in a number of senior positions including Chairmanship of the Criminal Bar Association and of the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee – in each case the first woman in these roles. In August this year she became Chairman of the Judicial College. She suggested and wrote the 1989 Pigot Committee recommendation (how the young or vulnerable give evidence in court), acknowledged as a major contribution to the administration of justice and replicated internationally.

Dame Anne said: "The University gave me so much that I have always felt in its debt. This privilege – which means the world to me – begins my opportunity to repay.

"Sheffield is a world-class player for good reason: its research contribution is outstanding, but it never forgets that university life begins with undergraduates and depends on inspiring teaching and leadership."

Chairman of the University Council Tony Pedder, commented: "We are truly delighted to announce the appointment of Lady Justice Rafferty to the position of Chancellor.

Previous Chancellors of the University of Sheffield

  • 1905-1917 His Grace the 15th Duke of Norfolk
  • 1917-1944 The Most Hon The Marquess of Crewe
  • 1944-1947 Rt Hon The Earl of Harewood
  • 1947-1959 Rt Hon The Earl of Halifax
  • 1959-1977 Rt Hon Richard (Rab) Butler, Baron Butler of Saffron Walden
  • 1979-1997 Rt Hon The Lord Dainton of Hallam Moors
  • 1999-2015 Sir Peter Middleton

"As Lord Justice of Appeal, Dame Anne is one of the UK’s leading judges and a University of Sheffield alumna whose professional achievements and personal qualities make her a perfect fit for a role which combines tradition and a belief in the crucial importance of scholarship with a desire to support the aspiration of students from around the world.

"I would also like to express my sincere thanks and those of the University to Sir Peter Middleton, who has served as a truly distinguished Chancellor for the past fifteen years. We are deeply grateful for his commitment to Sheffield, to our students and for his warm encouragement as an advocate and friend.”

Dame Anne is married to His Honour Judge Brian Barker QC, the Recorder of London (most senior Circuit Judge in the UK and senior judge at the Old Bailey) , and has three daughters – one a graduate of the University of Sheffield.

Additional information

Sir Peter Middleton – Chancellor of the University of Sheffield (1999 to the present)

Sir Peter Middleton was born and educated in Sheffield. He is a graduate of the University of Sheffield (BA 1955, Economics) and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 1984. Sir Peter has served as Chancellor of the University since 1999 and is an Honorary Professor in the Management School.

Sir Peter spent nearly 30 years as an official in the Treasury, working closely with nine chancellors, and was Permanent Secretary from 1983 to 1991. Knighted in 1984, Sir Peter joined Barclays Bank in 1991, serving until 2004 as Deputy Chairman, CEO and Chairman. From 2004 to 2006 he was President of the British Bankers Association. He is currently UK Chairman of Marsh & McLennan Companies.

The Right Honourable Lady Justice Rafferty

Lady Justice Rafferty read Law at Sheffield which in 2005 awarded her an LLD, was called by Gray’s Inn and began pupillage in 1974. She became a QC in 1990 and a Recorder in 1991. She is married to His Honour Judge Brian John Barker QC, the Recorder of London, and has three daughters.

She was Head of Chambers at 4, Brick Court, (now 9, Bedford Row) 1994-2000. At the Criminal Bar Association she sat on the Committee 1986-91, was Secretary 1989-91, *Vice-Chairman 1993-95, and *Chairman 1995-97. She was *Chairman of the Bar Conference 1992. She was the only barrister on the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice 1991-93. On the Pigot Committee 1988-89 she suggested and wrote the recommendation now reflected in ABE interviews and in S.28 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999.

She was *Presiding Judge of the South Eastern Circuit 2003 – 2006
She was a member of the Sentencing Council 2009-2012
She was made a High Court Judge in 2000 and a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2011.
She became [Deputy**] *Chairman of the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee in 2012.
She became Chairman of the Judicial College in August 2014.

• = first woman
• [**] technically chaired ex officio by the Lord Chief Justice.

The University of Sheffield

With almost 26,000 of the brightest students from around 120 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.
Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

In 2014 it was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education and in the last decade has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.