Brexit campaigner Gina Miller receives law degree 30 years after dropping out of course

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By Katie King on

Woman named UK’s most influential black person left University of East London for personal reasons

Gina Miller, the investment fund manager no doubt best known for leading the Article 50 judicial review against the government, has been given an honorary law degree from the university she dropped out of 30 years ago.

Miller, 52, had studied law at the University of East London (UEL) in her 20s, but dropped out following a “traumatic” personal event. “My sense of failure in myself is that I didn’t sit my finals,” she confided in Legal Cheek.

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Despite having left law school and instead pursuing a career in financial services, Miller is arguably one of the most familiar faces in legal history.

The mother of three became a household name last summer when she was listed as the lead claimant in what’s now become known as the Brexit legal challenge. Supported by a legal dream team of Mishcon de Reya solicitors and Blackstone Chambers’ Lord Pannick QC, Miller shot to victory not once but twice — both the High Court and the Supreme Court ruled Article 50 could only be triggered after a free vote in parliament.

Her constitutional law successes mean Miller’s case is etched on law school syllabuses for years to come, a fact that delights the university dropout. She told Legal Cheek:

“One university professor sent me a paper he’d written that has the case and my name in it. He said: ‘you might not have finished [your law studies], but your name is now set in stone in our legal system and will be taught to students.’ That really brought tears to my eyes — I felt so proud to have been able to have contributed something. I even did a talk at the Cambridge Union, and one of the students printed out the case and asked me to sign it! It’s quite an extraordinary thing.”

Since the case’s conclusion, Miller has been a vocal EU campaigner who, in an attempt to soften a hard Brexit, urged tactical voting in the June snap election. The marketing graduate also hit headlines when she accused the government of acting “above the law” in its £1 billion Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) deal. Though her fame may have slid post-Supreme Court victory, her work has lasting appeal: she was last week named the most influential black person in the United Kingdom.

So while Miller’s bona fide status as important legal figure remains undisputed, it’s now arguably been taken up a notch by her receipt of a law degree. The Guyanese-born businesswoman accepted her Doctorate of Laws at UEL’s Royal Docks School of Business and Law yesterday.

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