Masters of the Bench
Professor Dawn Oliver QC FBA
Full Title: Professor Dawn Oliver QC FBACategory: Ordinary Bencher
Bench Call Date: 21.11.1996
Call Date: 20.7.1965
Dawn Oliver was the first woman and the first career academic to be appointed Treasurer of the Middle Temple, in 2011.
She graduated in Modern Languages and Law from Newnham College, Cambridge in 1964, and she was awarded a Harmsworth Scholarship. A pupil, then a tenant at 1 King’s Bench Walk (1965-66), Dawn developed a mixed practice, working in London and on the Midland Circuit, prosecuting and defending in criminal jury trials, acting in undefended and defended divorce and other matrimonial cases. She was instructed in the early stages of the Emil Savundra Fraud Case in 1968 and attracted much press attention.
Her three children were born between 1969 and 1972. From 1969-76 she volunteered at free legal advice centres in Islington and Woolwich, was a consultant to the Legal Action Group and regular contributor to its Bulletin.
In 1976, Dawn became a lecturer in the Faculty of Laws, University College London.
Her research and teaching were mainly in constitutional and administrative law, constitutional reform, and the relationship between law and politics.
She was appointed Professor of Constitutional Law at UCL in 1993. She was Dean and Head of Department from 1993-98 and again in 2007, and is now Emeritus Professor of Constitutional Law.
Dawn was a member of the Royal Commission on the Reform of the House of Lords, 1999-2000; of the Fabian Society Commission on the Future of the Monarchy, 2002-03; and of the Home Office’s Animal Procedures Committee, 2002-11. She was Honorary President of the Study of Parliament Group, 2010-15; Trustee of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, 2011-17; and has been
Dawn was elected a Bencher of the Middle Temple in 1996. During her year as Treasurer, she arranged the first Academics’ Dinner at the Inn, the first Amity Visit by members of the Middle Temple to the American Inns of Court, and a return visit at the start of the legal year in 2011. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel (honoris causa) in 2012.