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Honorary Fellows

During the annual Graduation ceremonies, the University appoints a number of Honorary Fellowships to those who have made significant contributions to their fields.

An Honorary Fellowship is the highest honour that the University can bestow and is usually awarded to individuals with a connection with the University or with Wales. The following are Honorary Fellows of Bangor Law School, and the original citations from the time of awarding their Fellowships.

James Goronwy Cleaver (2006)

“It is sometimes said that while Wales is good at producing teachers and preachers, it signally fails to produce businessmen and entrepreneurs. This afternoon, we have the opportunity if not to refute that statement then at least to provide an exception to challenge the rule.

James Goronwy Cleaver’s career has indeed been exceptional. He is a native of north Wales, having been born and brought up on Anglesey, one of three children of a local minister, the Reverend Lyn Cleaver and Mrs. Ceridwen Cleaver. After schooling on the island, he qualified as a chartered accountant in Cardiff, before starting his career with the firm of Pannell Kerr Forster, for which firm and its successors, including Ernst and Young, he has continued to work every since. Although he has maintained not just his connections with, but also a home on, Anglesey, the islands which have figured most prominently in his career are somewhat farther afield. In 1973, he, his wife Barbara and their two children, moved to Nassau in the Bahamas to run the firm’s office there, and later he opened another office for the firm at Freeport on Grand Bahama. By July 1978, he was a full partner for Parnell Kerr Forster in the Cayman Islands where he was one of the pioneers who laid the foundations for what was to become one of the world’s largest financial centres. Eventually, he became Managing Partner of Ernst & Young in the Caymans.

The Cleaver era at Ernst & Young has been described as one of client growth, revenue growth and record earnings in every year in which he was in charge. But while achieving this, he also took a keen interest in nurturing the talents of young local people who had the potential to become successful professionals. Under his tutelage, summer placements, scholarships to universities abroad and support to prepare for professional examinations all became available to them – and his dedication and generosity in developing the talents of others is known too here in his native north Wales, where his sponsorship of Bangor’s Law School has facilitated the growth of the library, computer provision, and support for bilingual teaching. His practical encouragement of young talent is recognized as a model of how private enterprise should serve the community.

In the business world, the name James Goronwy Cleaver is associated not just with success and generosity, but also and more importantly with honesty, character and the highest ethical standards. Here is a Welshman who has maintained his Welsh identity and loyalty, while making the strengths and virtues of the national character known and appreciated in an international context.

Y mae’n bleser ac anrhydedd i gyflwyno James Goronwy Cleaver i dderbyn Cymrydoriaeth Prifysgol Cymru, Bangor.

Professor Dermot Cahill

Bangor Law School

Mr Justice Roderick Evans (2010)

“It is with great pleasure that I was invited to present the Presenter’s Address for the presentation of the University Fellowship to the Hon Sir Roderick Evans here today. 

Sir Roderick was born on 22 October 1946, the son of Thomas James and Dorothy Evans.  Married to Kathryn Rebecca Lewis, with three sons and one daughter, he was called to the Bar, Gray’s Inn, in 1970, following his education at the Bishop Gore Grammar School, Swansea, and University College, London.  His progression through the ranks of the Bar was a most illustrious one, where he specialised in criminal law both as defence and prosecuting counsel, and become Head of his Chambers in Swansea. Appointed a Recorder to the Crown Court in 1987 and a Queen’s Counsel in 1989; he was elevated to the Bench in 1992, appointed Resident Judge at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court in 1994; subsequently Swansea Crown Court in 1998; Cardiff Crown Court in 1999, where he also served as Recorder of Cardiff until 2001.  Appointed a Judge of the High Court, Queen’s Bench Division, in 2001, he has served with distinction as Presiding Judge of the Wales and Chester Circuit from 2004 to 2007, and successively, the Wales Circuit in 2007.

Considering this breadth of experience, both as practitioner and subsequently as Judge, by any measure of the imagination, it is fair to say that Sir Roderick, or the Hon Mr Justice Roderick Evans, (as he would be known to Law students), has had an illustrious legal career and life experience. 

A recurring theme in Mr Justice Evans career has been his obvious passion for Wales.  He has devoted considerable energy, time, and intellectual effort to championing the use of the Welsh language, and naturally, is very keen to see it progress in use in the judicial system, and he recently presided over a murder trial, conducted entirely through Welsh.

This presents a perfect example of how Mr. Justice Evans has always had a willingness to learn from the experience of others, including other jurisdictions. The issue of bi-lingual provision in the Courts has proved contentions for many years, and various solutions have been suggested. It is typical of Mr. Justice Evans' essentially practical approach to issues that he helped organize and take part in a visit to New Brunswick in Canada, where a bi-lingual system of justice was successfully established, together with other lawyers and the then Counsel General of the Welsh Assembly Government. The experience of New Brunswick in drafting legislation and in providing bi-lingual justice has been of immense value to the Assembly Government and to the legal profession in Wales. This visit has been followed by others, most recently to Switzerland, with similar results.

As Presiding Judge on the Wales Circuit, he has played an influential role in the development of the North Wales Criminal Justice Centre in Caernarfon, and was one of the founding members of Legal Wales, an organisation which seeks to ensure that Wales has a coherent system for the administration of justice, appropriate for its geographical, demographical and linguistic character.  Legal Wales has had, and continues to have, a significant influence on the development of Wales’ distinct legal identity. As Presiding Judge for Wales, Sir Roderick oversaw the transfer to North Wales, from Cheshire, of the administrative responsibility for the administration of justice in North Wales.  He has also taken a prominent part in the campaign to site a prison in North Wales.  This is an ongoing project.  The lack of a prison in North Wales continues to be a major blot on the landscape of the human rights arena for Welsh citizens.  Sitting as he does, on the Bench, Mr Justice Evans is only too aware of the challenge that incarceration for long periods brings to the human spirit, and in 2008, he delivered a major lecture here at the University, where he cogently and coherently argued for the siting of a major prison in Wales, which would house Welsh inmates in a culturally appropriate environment.

Sir Roderick has also supported the work of the University.  At Bangor Law School, we have devoted considerable energies to the teaching of Law through the medium of Welsh.  As legal experts, we understand too well how something can get lost in translation, and nowhere is the precision of meaning of words more called for than in the practice and study of the Law, and so we are very happy to have had his support and advice throughout the years, as we developed our curriculum. His assistance has been considerable and incisive.

Mr Justice Evans is also keenly interested in the professional development of the Judiciary, and so he was instrumental in founding the Association of Judges of Wales, and currently serves as Secretary of the Association.  It is clear from his work to date that he has a vision of the legal future for Wales, which he has developed over years of mature reflection and consideration as to how the legal architecture of the Devolved Jurisdiction should take shape. 

In this context, matters to which he has devoted considerable thought include the setting up of a Welsh Judiciary, and professional bodies within Wales to service the legal profession, and probably most crucially, his argument for allowing appeal cases to be heard, and determined, within Wales, is now a question that requires ever closer examination in the emerging Devolution model.  One of his most significant reforms that he supported in recent years was the reconstitution of Her Majesty’s Courts Service Wales & Chester to become the Her Majesty’s Courts Service Wales, which means that for the purpose of the administration of justice Wales is its own area. Though not universally welcomed at the time, this was a most important development, essential as Wales moves forward to develop its own legal and administrative bodies to better reflect the boundaries now being set by the progress of Devolution.

Sir Roderick, whose many professional and judicial achievements I have briefly recited, what is he like when he is off the Bench?  Is he an austere, aloof and intimidating personality?  He is neither that on the Bench, nor off it.  Socially, he has been repeatedly described as a very charming individual, delightful company, a devoted family man, and in general, a man who is very content and popular. 

Compiling this address, we carried out extensive consultation, not only with members of the Bar, the solicitors’ profession, and the Judiciary, but also further afield.  Time and again, the recurring description of Mr Justice Roderick Evans was favourable.  It is clear that members of the Bar clearly enjoy appearing before him, as he has been described as a model of efficiency and professional courtesy. Even more impressively, Solicitors also speak highly of him!  He has also been described as a fair man, and a man of real conviction and principle, who if he believes something is right, will stick with it, and see it through.  He has also been described as a pragmatic and practical Judge, which, is most welcome, as we here in the Academy comment, critique and decipher the judicial pronouncements for our students.  Mr Justice Evans’ judgments are models of clarity, common sense and wisdom, the essential qualities for any good judge.  There is no doubt that he performs public service unselfishly and commendably.

It is a tremendous honour, not only for the University, but more particularly for the Law School, that Sir Roderick has accepted this prestigious Fellowship.  We look forward to his continuing association with the Law School and the University, and I commend the University for honouring him with this year’s Honorary Fellowship.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I present the Hon Sir Roderick Evans for an Honorary Fellowship of Bangor University.”

Professor Dermot Cahill

Bangor Law School

Professor Malcolm Evans (2012)

"Professor Malcolm Evans is Professor of Public International Law at the University of Bristol, and serves as Deputy Director of its Human Rights Implementation Centre, having previously served as its Inaugural Director. He is one of the United Kingdom’s most distinguished international lawyers, with an outstanding global reputation.  Widely and frequently published by the top journals and leading international publishing houses, Professor Evans is the author and co-author of several books on topics as varied as Maritime Law, Religious Freedom, International Law and Human Rights Law. In many prestigious edited collections, it is not uncommon to see a major piece invited from Professor Evans, such is the mark of his reputation as a leading expert in these areas.

The measure of the esteem in which he is held by the global community can readily be seen in his invitation to serve on many prestigious international committees. To name just a few – his membership of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Advisory Council on the Freedom of Religion or Belief since 2004; his membership of the Foreign Secretary’s Human Rights Advisory Group since 2010; and most recently his chairmanship of the United Nations’ sub-committee on the prevention of torture, which he has chaired since 2011.

Professor Evans served for several years as Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences & Law at the University of Bristol. He is a member of the editorial board of several international journals and editorial committees, including, The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Religion and Human Rights, and most recently, he has been appointed as Co-Editor in Chief of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion.

The holder of major prestigious research grants from leading funded-research bodies such as the European Commission and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Professor Evans has led very innovative major research projects. For example, in South Africa he has worked with African institutions working for the prevention of torture, and to strengthen and support the development of  torture prevention mechanisms in several Member States of the former Soviet Union.

In 2004, he was awarded the OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for services to the prevention of torture, and the promotion of religious liberty.

The time is now right for Bangor University to appoint an Honorary Fellow in the International Law field, and Professor Evans meets this requirement perfectly. The Law School has just secured approval from the University for the setting up of a Centre for International Law, which will be known as the Bangor Centre for International Law. The Law School has assembled a formidable team of academics specialising in various specialities of International Law, and we look forward to working with our new Honorary Fellow - Professor Evans – for advice and leadership as this new Research Centre sets out to make its mark on the international stage. 

Our students can also look forward to the master classes he will deliver in areas such as Law & Religion, the Prevention of Torture, and Respect for Human Rights.

The acceptance by Professor Evans of the University’s invitation to him to become an Honorary Fellow of the University formalises our association with this outstanding scholar and lawyer, which will bring tremendous esteem, both to the Law School and to the University."

Professor Dermot Cahill

Bangor Law School