UCL Faculty of Laws


UCL Laws pays tribute to Professor Sir Bob Hepple

24 August 2015

Former Dean and Professor of English Law at UCL Laws, Professor Bob Hepple, has passed away aged 81

Professor Bob Hepple

Professor Hepple, who was born in South Africa in 1934, joined UCL Laws in 1982 and served as Dean and Head of Department from 1989 until 1993.

A world-renowned expert on labour and discrimination law, Professor Hepple was also an active figure in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa during the late 1950s and 60s.

Remembering Professor Hepple, Reader in Law at UCL Laws, Colm O’Cinneide said: “His work on race discrimination, equality duties and the effective enforcement of anti-discrimination legislation was ground-breaking, and exerted a great influence on the development of UK and EU equality law.

“In person, he was unfailingly generous, supportive and kind – especially to younger scholars, as I can attest from personal experience. His constant commitment to social justice and human rights was exceptional. Bob was a giant figure, and his passing represents a great loss.”

Alongside his academic career, Professor Hepple also practised as barrister until 2007. He served as a member on a number of committees and trusts, and acted as Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, of the European Roma Rights Centre and of the Equal Rights Trust.

Dr Virginia Mantouvalou, Reader in Human Rights Law at UCL Laws and a trustee of the Equal Rights Trust, said: “He was an outstanding scholar and a source of inspiration for many generations of human rights and labour lawyers. Bob’s passing is a tremendous loss for academia and for the protection of human rights in the real world. He will be greatly missed.”

Dr Nicola Countouris, Reader in Law and a Coordinator of the UCL Labour Rights Institute said: “Professor Hepple will be remembered as a giant in the field of labour law, with an unparalleled contribution to the development of the discipline at a national, European, and international level. He was an extremely generous senior colleague and will be greatly missed by all his colleagues here at UCL.”

Professor Hepple was elected as Honorary President of the Industrial Law Society in 2012, and Honorary President of the Equal Rights Trust in 2014. He was knighted in 2004 and awarded an Honorary LLD from UCL in 2006.

Read more about Professor Sir Bob Hepple’s life and work on University of Cambridge’s Squire Law Library website.