Cherie Booth CBE, QC
Cherie Booth was born in Bury in 1954 but moved when very young to Liverpool where she grew up. The first member of her family to go to university, she studied law at the London School of Economics and went on to establish a successful legal career as a prominent barrister, also serving as a recorder (part-time judge) and actively campaigning on equality and human rights issues. She married Tony Blair who went on to become the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Awarded an Honorary Fellowship in 1997 in recognition of her services to the legal profession, Booth was later appointed Chancellor in 1999. She went on to serve two terms, working with two Vice-Chancellors.
She championed the university locally, and further afield by hosting special events, including receptions at 10 Downing Street and in New York with Yoko Ono. As well as acting as a figurehead for LJMU and participating in international visits to China and Malaysia, her ‘hands-on' approach meant she forged close links with numerous academic schools, especially law.
“Human rights belong to us all... it's depressing to hear rights painted as a one-way street, with rights come responsibilities to other people and society as a whole. The key challenge is for people to realise that human rights matter to them in their everyday lives. It took the campaigning of men like Roscoe to end slavery, and women's rights were to come later... nonetheless the idea that certain human rights were so basic that they had universal character had taken root.”
– Cherie Booth during her Roscoe Lecture in 2006
Booth was, and remains, a keen advocate of LJMU's ‘down-to-earth', non-ivory-tower approach, which she sees as a distinctive and defining feature of the university, giving students real-world experience as a preparation for employment.
Booth has a very close relationship with Liverpool and believes the strong sense of community she experienced within the university reflects and contributes to the unique character of the city. She singles out the joyous atmosphere of the degree ceremonies as summing up the special and meaningful nature of the university.
In 2006, she opened a building on the Byrom Street campus which the university named in her honour. Booth was appointed Emeritus Chancellor when she stepped down in 2006, maintaining her links with the university.
That same year she also delivered a Roscoe Lecture entitled Human Rights and the Protection of the Citizen to a packed auditorium in the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. You can listen to the lecture at the Sound Cloud link below.