Duo to receive doctorates during virtual graduation ceremony this Saturday
The University of Law (ULaw) has awarded honorary degrees to Brexit campaigner Gina Miller and former professional football player Eniola Aluko. Both recipients will receive their doctorates at a virtual graduation ceremony this Saturday.
Gina Miller, 56, is the businesswoman and campaigner who has twice led legal challenges against the government and won. Her first victory came in September 2017 when the Supreme Court ruled Article 50 (the legal mechanism to oust the UK from the EU) could only be triggered after a free vote in parliament. Her second came two years later in September 2019 when, following the vote to Leave, the Supreme Court ruled it would be unlawful for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to trigger Article 50 and begin the withdrawal process without parliament’s involvement.
Commenting on the accolade, Miller said:
“As someone who was passionate about being a lawyer all of my life, but could not due to the circumstances of my life, this award is very emotional.”
She continued: “There have been many highlights in my career so far, big and small, but the generosity of ULaw is humbling. My message to everyone is that we all have a responsibility to speak up and the power to effect change, when we see those in positions of power abusing that power.”
Miller had studied law at the University of East London in her 20s, but dropped out following a “traumatic” personal event, she confided in Legal Cheek. She also holds an honorary law degree from UEL, which she received in 2017.
Eniola Aluko, 34, is a magic circle lawyer turned professional football player and pundit. Aluko studied law at Brunel University and completed the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at ULaw Moorgate. She joined magic circle firm Slaughter and May in 2016, leaving two years later to sign for Italian club Juventus in 2018. Prior to that post, Aluko was with Chelsea FC for six years, and represented the England national team at both European and world championships.
Aluko, now sporting director at LA-based Angel City FC, said: “I feel so honoured, privileged and thankful for this award. It’s nearly ten years since I completed my LPC at the University — although it feels like yesterday. It was challenging at the time as it was an accelerated course and I completed it just before I went to the London 2012 Olympics to play for the England Women’s Football Team, which was an incredible experience.”
ULaw’s vice-chancellor and chief executive officer, Professor Andrea Nollent, added: “It is my privilege to award an honorary doctorate to Eniola and Gina in recognition of their successful campaigning on some of the most important issues of recent times. They are outstanding and inspiring role models for our graduating students.”
In recent years, ULaw has awarded honorary degrees to CPS lawyer and star of BBC legal documentary The Prosecutors, Eran Cutliffe, for her work within the criminal justice system, and Bollywood megastar Shahrukh Khan for his philanthropic endeavours.