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Holdsworth Presidential Address 2021: Professor Geoffrey Ma

Online - a link will be sent to you before the event
Wednesday 16 June 2021 (12:30-13:30)

The Holdsworth Club are delighted to invite members, the Birmingham Law School community and the wider public to this year’s Presidential Address. The title of Professor Ma’s address will be Maintaining Constants in a Variable World: The Challenge for the Courts.

About Professor Geoffrey Ma 

Geoffrey’s connections with Birmingham Law School stretch back over 40 years, from when he completed his LLB at the University of Birmingham between 1974 and 1977.  

After graduating, Geoffrey became a practising barrister and between 1978 and 1990 was called to the bar in four separate jurisdictions (England, Hong Kong, Victoria (Australia) and Singapore). He was also appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1993 and was made an Honorary Bencher of Gray’s Inn in 2014. 

After entering the Hong Kong judiciary at the beginning of the 21st century, Geoffrey rose up the courts to become the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal in 2010. He held this role until his retirement in January of this year.  

Upon his retirement, the university appointed Geoffrey as Honorary Chair and Professor in Birmingham Law School, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to public life. In 2019 he was presented with the inaugural University of Birmingham Hong Kong Medal by Vice-Chancellor Sir David Eastwood.  

He also became Honorary President of the Holdsworth Club in November 2020, at the invitation of the Club Chair. 

About the Holdsworth Club 

The Holdsworth Club is the student-run law society at the University of Birmingham and is one of the oldest and biggest student law societies in the United Kingdom. It was established in 1927 by Professor C.E. Smalley-Baker and named after Sir William Holdsworth, who remained a patron of the Club until his death in 1944. It is still going strong today, with over 550 active members and a range of mutually beneficial partnerships with law firms and other organisations linked to the legal profession. 

Every year, Club members elect a 15-person committee to run the Club on their behalf. The committee then works to put on a range of networking, academic, sports and social events for members.  

Unlike most other student law societies, members do not directly elect a President to lead the Club. Instead, the committee is led by an elected Chair, who will then appoint an Honorary President for their term. The President is most commonly chosen as a distinguished member of the judiciary. The most recent President before Geoffrey Ma was Baroness Hale of Richmond, best known for being President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom between 2017 and 2020.  

Every President is invited to deliver an address on a topic of their choice. Over the past 94 years, many Presidents have used the opportunity to give remarks on the greatest legal issues of our times, helping shape some of the most significant debates of how legal systems do and should operate. 

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