Law student, 80, graduates from Liverpool Uni

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By Judge John Hack on

80 year-old former copper picks up law masters degree — but he’s not the oldest ever


Most 80-year-olds reckon getting round the front nine of their local golf course is quite good going — but Eric Jones decided he’d bag a masters of law instead.

The former rozzer has just picked up the degree from the University of Liverpool at its December graduation ceremony at the city’s Metropolitan Cathedral.

According to a university statement trumpeting Jones’s achievement, the former detective superintendent was “quite emotional”, as he shook hands with vice-chancellor professor Sir Howard Newby.

“It was highly emotionally charged,” Jones commented after the ceremony. “I’m not really given to that, considering the job I used to do.”

Born in Didsbury, Jones spent his entire career nicking baddies for the Greater Manchester Police. Well into retirement, he sought a fresh challenge and applied for Liverpool’s LLM. Invited for interview but, without an undergraduate degree, he thought he would fall at the first hurdle.

“I was asked if I would be prepared to do a 5,000-word dissertation,” he recalled. “So I picked up on the Justice and Security Bill that was making its way through the House of Commons. A few weeks later I was contacted with an unconditional offer.”

As heartwarming a tale as this is, Jones is not by a long chalk the oldest law graduate.

Back in spring 2012, the BBC reported on Australian Allan Stewart, who bagged a spot in the Guinness World Records in 2006 when he completed a law degree at the age of 91. He went on to break his own record by completing a masters at the age of 97.

At the other end of the spectrum, about a year ago, Gabrielle Turnquest became the youngest person ever to be called to the English bar, when she joined the profession aged 18.