Essex Vice-Chancellor leads tributes to Lord Phillips

  • Date

    Tue 11 Apr 23

Lord Phillips in his Chancellor gown

Essex’s Vice-Chancellor has paid tribute to Lord Phillips of Sudbury, who died on Easter Sunday (April 9).

Lord Phillips was a pioneering solicitor, a dedicated supporter of many charities and a much-loved legal expert and broadcaster, regularly appearing on Jimmy Young’s BBC Radio 2 show as the “Legal Eagle” for nearly 30 years. Lord Phillips served as the University's Chancellor between 2003 and 2013.

Lord Phillips presided over 11 graduations, congratulating and celebrating the successes of more than 20,000 graduates. The many highlights of his time as Chancellor included escorting by HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh around the Colchester Campus during Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to mark the University’s 40th anniversary.

Lord Phillips undertook regular tours of academic departments throughout his tenure to learn about the research taking place and keenly shared his views on how to improve the student experience.

He was also known for his inspirational speeches at Graduation ceremonies.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex, Professor Anthony Forster said: “The University of Essex community is deeply saddened to learn of the death of our fourth Chancellor, Lord Phillips. Lord Phillips made a significant contribution to the development of the University and served with distinction and enthusiasm, despite his many other commitments.

“He went out of his way to speak to staff and students. But perhaps most importantly, he acted as inspiration to the University of Essex community and championed so many of our values.

“It was a privilege to know and work with Lord Phillips. On behalf of everyone here at Essex, I would like to offer my condolences to his family.”

Lord Phillips founded law firm Bates, Wells & Braithwaite, London, in 1970 and served as a senior partner until 1998.

He was made a life peer in 1998 in recognition of his charitable work which included founding three national charities, including The Citizenship Foundation. He also co-founded and chaired the Legal Action Group, a legal aid charity, and co-founded and served as President of the Solicitors’ Pro Bono Group.

Lord Phillips appeared on BBC Radio 2’s Jimmy Young Show as the “Legal Eagle”, giving advice to the show’s listeners for more than two decades between 1976 and 2002.  He also presented current affairs programmes for London Weekend Television and Anglia.