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Sir Keir Starmer KCB QC

The former Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Keir Starmer, received an Honorary Degree from the University of Worcester on Tuesday 18 November 2014.

Sir Keir is a barrister with an international reputation in human rights, judicial review, international and criminal law.

Having obtained a first class Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Leeds he took a Bachelor of Civil Law from the University of Oxford, and was called to the Bar in 1987. In 2002 he became Queen’s Counsel and was appointed joint head of Doughty Street Chambers.

He has conducted cases at the highest level in England and Wales, including over 30 cases in the House of Lords and before the Privy Council. He has also conducted cases all over the world, including in international courts such as the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Caribbean Court of Justice and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.

From 2003-2008, Sir Keir was the human rights advisor to the Policing Board in Northern Ireland. In that capacity he worked with the Policing Board to ensure that the Police Service of Northern Ireland fully complied with its obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998.

He was named QC of the Year in the field of human rights and public law in 2007 by the Chambers & Partners Directory and in 2005 he won the Bar Council’s Sydney Elland Goldsmith award for his outstanding contribution to pro bono work in challenging the death penalty throughout the Caribbean and Africa.

In 2008 he was appointed to the role of Director of Public Prosecutions and Head of the Crown Prosecution Service, a position he held until 2013. Among the complex and sensitive cases arising during his term of office were the cases relating to assisted suicide, leading to the DPP’s guidelines on Assisted Suicide issued in February 2010; the various cases in which members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords were charged with criminal offences; the successful retrial in the Stephen Lawrence case; and several so-called street grooming cases.

Sir Keir has written several leading textbooks, including the Three Pillars of Liberty: Political Rights and Freedoms in the UK (1996), European Human Rights Law (1999), Criminal Justice, Police Powers and Human Rights (2001) and the Human Rights Manual and Sourcebook for Africa (2005). He has also published guidelines on Violence against Women and Girls and Child Sexual Abuse and has been very supportive of the development of the National Centre for the Study and Prevention of Violence and Abuse at the University of Worcester. In June 2012 Sir Keir gave the University and Cathedral annual Worcester Lecture on ethical issues in public life.