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Helena Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws

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Nationality  British
Role  Barrister
Political party  Labour Party
Religion  Roman Catholic
Party  Labour Party
Name  Helena Baroness

Helena Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws Baroness to open 39worldleading39 centre for human rights
Full Name  Helena Ann Kennedy
Born  12 May 1950 (age 65) (1950-05-12) Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Occupation  Barrister, television presenter
Partner(s)  Iain Mitchell (1978-84); 1 child
Children  Keir Kennedy Mitchell Clio Kennedy Hutchison Roland Kennedy Hutchison
Spouse  Iain Mitchell (m. 1978–1984)
Employer  Mansfield College, Oxford, BBC
Books  EVE WAS FRAMED, Just Law, Legal Conundrums in Our Br, Do Human Rights Travel?
Similar People  Iain Mitchell, Graca Machel, Paul Webley

Education  Holyrood Secondary School

Helena Ann Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws, QC, FRSA (born 12 May 1950), is a British barrister, broadcaster, and Labour member of the House of Lords. Baroness Kennedy is a former chair of the Human Genetics Commission, which advises Her Majesty's Government on ethical, social, and legal issues arising from developments in genetic science.


Helena Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws Zoe Education Trust Patrons


Helena Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws wwwhelenakennedycoukimghelenaMainPagejpg

Lady Kennedy was born in Glasgow to a devoutly Roman Catholic family. She is one of four sisters born to Joshua Patrick and Mary Veronica (née Jones) Kennedy, both committed Labour activists. Her father, a printer with the Daily Record, was a trade union official. She attended Holyrood Secondary School in Glasgow, where she was appointed Head Girl.

Kennedy still regularly attends Mass and professes that her Catholicism "remains very much part of who I am", even though she eschews its more traditional values. She went on to study Law at London's Council of Legal Education.

Legal career

Helena Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws CSA Inquiry ROUND TWO more skullduggery Archived UK

Among her many cases, Kennedy acted as junior counsel for child murderer Myra Hindley during the latter's 1974 trial for plotting to escape from Holloway.


Helena Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws Annual Lecture Helena Kennedy YouTube

Lady Kennedy rebels against her party whip in the House of Lords more frequently than any other Labour Peer, having a dissent rate of 33.3%. She was Chair of Charter 88 (1992–97) and is closely affiliated to the educational charity Common Purpose.


Lady Kennedy was elected principal of Mansfield College, Oxford in July 2010 (in which office she has served since September 2011).

Personal life

Her first partner was the actor Iain Mitchell, with whom she lived from 1978 until 1984, and by whom she has a son. In 1986, Kennedy married Dr Iain Louis Hutchison (a surgeon), with whom she has a daughter and a son.


She has received numerous academic awards, including:

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
  • Fellow of the City and Guilds of London Institute (FCGI)
  • Member of the Académie Universelle des Cultures (Paris)
  • Honorary Fellow, Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2005
  • Honorary Fellow, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, 2005
  • Honorary Fellow, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
  • Honorary Fellow, University of Cambridge, 2010
  • Honorary Fellow, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), 2011
  • Honorary Doctorate of Law, Plymouth University, 2012
  • Broadcasting

  • Creator: Blind Justice, BBC TV, 1987
  • Presenter: Heart of the Matter, BBC TV, 1987
  • After Dark, Channel 4 and BBC4, 1987–2003
  • She presented many editions of this series, including the "drunk Oliver Reed" episode, where the actor verbally insulted and attempted to kiss feminist Kate Millett
  • Presenter: Raw Deal on Medical Negligence, BBC TV, 1989
  • Presenter: The Trial of 'Lady Chatterley's Lover', BBC Radio 4, 1990
  • Presenter: Time Gentlemen, Please, BBC Scotland, 1994 (Winner, Television Programme Award category, 1994 Industrial Journalism Awards)
  • Commissioner, BAFTA Inquiry into the future of the BBC, 1990
  • Public leadership

  • President, Helena Kennedy Foundation
  • President of the Board the Governors of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
  • President, Women of the Year Lunch (2010–2015)
  • Chair, JUSTICE
  • Chair of the Board of Governors for the United World College of the Atlantic
  • President, Medical Aid for Palestinians
  • Patron, Burma Campaign UK, the London-based group campaigning for human rights and democracy in Burma
  • Member of the Board of Independent News and Media
  • Trustee, KPMG Foundation
  • Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University (1994–2001)
  • Chair, British Council (1998–2004)
  • Chair, Human Genetics Commission (1998–2007)
  • President of the National Children's Bureau (1998–2005)
  • Kennedy chaired the Power Commission (November 2005 – March 2006), which examined the problem of democratic disengagement in the United Kingdom. A report was produced which highlighted the "Myth of Apathy" and the lack of political engagement
  • Chair of Power 2010, which aimed to carry forward the concepts behind the Power Commission into the UK 2010 General Election
  • Member of the World Bank Institute's External Advisory Council
  • Member of the board of the British Museum
  • Vice-President of the Haldane Society
  • Vice-President of the Association of Women Barristers
  • Patron, London International Festival of Theatre
  • Patron, Institute for Learning (IfL)
  • Patron, Liberty
  • Patron, UNLOCK, The National Association of Ex-Offenders
  • Patron, Debt Doctors Foundation UK (DD-UK)
  • Patron, Tower Hamlets Summer University
  • Patron, Rights Watch (UK)
  • Patron of SafeHands for Mothers, a UK-based charity whose mission is to improve maternal and newborn health by harnessing the power of the visual, through the production of films.
  • Chair, Howard League's Commission of Inquiry into Violence in Penal Institutions for Young People (the final report, Banged Up, Beaten Up, Cutting Up, published in 1995)
  • Chair, Reading Borough Council's Commission of Inquiry into the health, environmental and safety aspects of the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston (final report Secrecy versus Safety, published in 1994)
  • Chair, Royal Colleges of Pathologists' and of Pædiatrics' Inquiry into Sudden Infant Death (producing a protocol for the investigation of such deaths in 2004)
  • Member of the Foreign Policy Centre's Advisory Council
  • Formerly UK member of the International Bar Association's Task Force on Terrorism
  • As Commissioner of the National Commission for Education, she chaired a committee on widening participation in further education and the Commission's report, Learning Works, published in 1997.
  • Honours

  • Created a Life Peer, as Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws, of Cathcart in the City of Glasgow on 27 October 1997
  • Grand Cross, Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (2004)
  • Commandeur, Ordre des Palmes Académiques (2006)
  • References

    Helena Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws Wikipedia

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