Helena Kennedy
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Helena Kennedy

The Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws

Official portrait of Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws crop 2, 2019.jpg
Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws' official parliamentary photo, 2019
Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford

September 2011 - 2018
Diana Walford
Helen Mountfield
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal

27 October 1997
Life Peerage
Personal details
Helena Ann Kennedy

(1950-05-12) 12 May 1950 (age 70)
Glasgow, Scotland
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Iain Louis Hutchison
(1986 to date);
2 children
Domestic partnerIain Mitchell (1978-1984);
1 child
ChildrenKeir Kennedy Mitchell
Clio Kennedy Hutchison
Roland Kennedy Hutchison
OccupationBarrister, television presenter

Helena Ann Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws, QC, FRSA, HonFRSE (born 12 May 1950) is a Scottish barrister, broadcaster, and Labour member of the House of Lords. She served as Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford from 2011 to 2018.

Early life and education

Kennedy was born on 12 May 1950 in Glasgow, Scotland, one of the four daughters of Mary Veronica (née Jones) and Joshua Patrick.[1] Her parents were committed Labour activists and devoutly Catholic.[2] Her father, a printer with the Daily Record, was a trade union official.[2]

She attended Holyrood Secondary School in Glasgow, where she was appointed Head Girl. She studied law at the Council of Legal Education in London[2]

Legal career

In 1972, Kennedy was called to the bar at Gray's Inn. Among her many cases, Kennedy acted as junior counsel for child murderer Myra Hindley during her 1974 trial for plotting to escape from Holloway Prison.[3]


Kennedy rebels against her party whip in the House of Lords more frequently than any other Labour Peer, having a dissent rate of 33.3%.[4] She was Chair of Charter 88 (1992-1997) and is closely affiliated to the educational charity Common Purpose.


Kennedy became the first Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, serving from 1994-2001. Kennedy was elected principal of Mansfield College, Oxford in July 2010 and served from September 2011.[5] She retired in 2018 and became Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University on 26 July 2018.[6]

Personal life

From 1978 to 1984 she lived with the actor Iain Mitchell, and together they had a son. In 1986, Kennedy married Dr Iain Louis Hutchison, a surgeon, with whom she has a daughter and a son.[2]

Kennedy regularly attends Mass and professes that her Catholicism "remains very much part of who I am", even though she eschews its more traditional values.[2]


She has received numerous academic awards, including:


Hosting After Dark in 1997
  • Creator: Blind Justice, BBC TV, 1987
  • Presenter: Heart of the Matter, BBC TV, 1987
  • After Dark, Channel 4 and BBC4, 1987-2003
  • Presenter: Raw Deal on Medical Negligence, BBC TV, 1989
  • Presenter: The Trial of 'Lady Chatterley's Lover', BBC Radio 4, 1990
  • Presenter: Time Gentlemen, Please, BBC Scotland, 1994 (Winner, Television Programme Award category, 1994 Industrial Journalism Awards)
  • Commissioner, BAFTA Inquiry into the future of the BBC, 1990


Kennedy signing The Convention on Modern Liberty in January 2009



  • Eve was Framed: Women and British Justice, 1993; ISBN 0-09-922441-0
  • Just Law: The changing face of justice and why it matters to us, 2004; ISBN 0-09-945833-0
  • Eve Was Shamed: How British Justice Is Failing Women, 2018; ISBN 9781784742225


  1. ^ "Kennedy of the Shaws, Baroness, (Helena Ann Kennedy) (born 12 May 1950)". Kennedy of the Shaws, Baroness, (Helena Ann Kennedy) (Born 12 May 1950). Who's Who. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2007. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u22850. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Wroe, Nicholas (27 March 2004). "A radical in the House". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011.
  3. ^ "One of Your Own: The Life and Death of Myra Hindley", by Carol Ann Lee (2012).
  4. ^ Rebel Lords -- Current members The Public Whip
  5. ^ "Baroness Helena Kennedy QC elected next Principal of Mansfield College" Archived 29 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine, University of Oxford Mansfield College, 13 April 2011.
  6. ^ "Principal". Mansfield College. University of Oxford. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Baroness Helena Ann Kennedy of The Shaws QC, HonFBA, HonFRSE - The Royal Society of Edinburgh". The Royal Society of Edinburgh. Retrieved 2018.
  9. ^ "2016: A Vision and Strategy for the Centennial" Archived 4 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine (p. 18), School of Oriental and African Studies, April 2010
  10. ^ Qureshi, Huma (17 October 2012). "Helena Kennedy: 'Women's struggles are not over'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2015.
  11. ^ "New Chancellor for Sheffield Hallam University". shu.ac.uk. Retrieved 2018.
  12. ^ "Meet The Team", LIFT. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  13. ^ "SafeHands for Mothers". SafeHands for Mothers. Retrieved 2014.
  14. ^ Chandler, Mark (20 January 2020), "Kennedy steps down as Booker Prize Foundation chair", The Bookseller.
  15. ^ "CHE > In the news". www.c-h-e.org.uk.
  16. ^ "No. 54934". The London Gazette. 30 October 1997. p. 12205.
  17. ^ Sitio web del Quirinal

External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
New Institution
Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University
Succeeded by
Jon Snow
Preceded by
Diana Walford
Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford
Succeeded by
Helen Mountfield
Preceded by
Robert Winston
Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University
Succeeded by

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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