UCL Faculty of Laws


UCL Laws delighted to host 2017 Bentham Association Presidential Address and Dinner

9 March 2017

UCL Faculty of Laws is proud to have welcomed over 80 alumni and friends to the 2017 Bentham Association Presidential Address and Dinner on Thursday 9 May 2017

Hazel Genn

Delivering the 68th Presidential Address, 2017 Bentham Association President Kate O’Regan, former Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, spoke on ‘A Constitutional Journey: Judicial review of administrative action in post-apartheid South Africa’.

During her address, Justice O’Regan described the key aspects of the journey that judicial review has embarked upon under the South African Constitution. Furthermore, Justice O’Regan provided her assessment of the developments of the last 20 years and considered whether the South African experience suggests that modern Bills of Rights should entrench the right to administrative justice.

Among the attendees were former UCL Provost Sir Malcom Grant, several Justices of the UK Supreme Court (Lord Carnwath, Lord Reed, Lorde Mance, Lord Hughes, and Lord Clark); former Bentham Presidents Lord Woolf, Lord Pannick, Lady Justice Hallett, and Sir Robin Jacob as well as Court of Appeal judges and many other distinguished alumni and faculty friends.

Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Dean of UCL Faculty of Laws, said:

‘The annual Bentham Association Presidential Address and Dinner is always one of the highlights of the year for UCL Laws. As ever, it was an absolute pleasure to attend such an enjoyable event alongside so many of our alumni and valued friends. I’m grateful for their continuous support and it’s great to see they maintain such strong links with our Faculty.

Kate O’Regan, former Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, said:

‘The transition to democracy in South Africa saw the adoption of a new constitution, which brought about many changes to the law. One of the important changes was in the field of administrative law. Because of its colonial history, South African administrative law had its origins in British administrative law, but apartheid rules and regulations were rarely successfully challenged before the courts.

The new Constitution makes it clear that administrative rules must be lawful, procedurally fair and reasonable.  Rooting administrative law in fundamental human rights has brought about substantial improvements in administrative law and practice but the process has not been without challenges.’

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Jack Davies, Trainee solicitor at Kirkland & Ellis International LLP and LLB alumnus, said:

‘I was the president of the UCL Law Society in 2010-11 and completed my LLB (Law with German Law) between 2007 and 2011. The support from the Faculty and the collegiate environment, especially within the law society, was fantastic, which makes studying law at UCL a uniquely rewarding experience. I remain close to many of the people I met during my time at UCL today and those four years have provided a broad, close network of friends across the globe.

I particularly appreciate the relaxed atmosphere at Bentham Association Dinner. It’s great to stay connected with UCL Laws through these events and catch up with old friends. Likewise it’s great to meet new people and see the various things that alumni from the faculty are doing now.’

Laura Devine, Managing Partner at Laura Devine Solicitors and LLB alumna, said:

‘As head of an immigration law firm, with five female partners, and offices in the City and Manhattan being a UCL Law graduate I have never had to explain myself. When setting up my law firm I was confident that my three years at UCL Laws gave me a comprehensive understanding of the law and the ethical issues surrounding it, both of which are vital to leading a law firm. I shall forever be grateful to UCL Laws as it provided me with the information, inspiration and intellect to establish the leading boutique immigration firm in the City.’

Earlier in the day, a number of UCL Laws alumni attending the Bentham Association Presidential Address were invited to see the progress of the redevelopment of Bentham House, home of UCL Laws.

Bentham Development

Following a short introduction to the project by architects Levitt Bernstein, the group were taken on a tour of the building site, that included viewing the new Student Hub and teaching spaces.

Read more about Transforming Bentham House

About the Bentham Association Presidential Address and Dinner

The Bentham Association Presidential Address and Dinner is an annual reunion event for UCL Laws alumni since 1949. This year we particularly welcomed graduates from years ending in 7 who will be celebrating 10, 20, 30, 40 and even 50 years since graduation from UCL.

See more details about the event

Read Bentham President Kate O’Regan’s address

View the 2017 Attendee List

Image 1: Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Kate O’Regan and Nigel Pleming QC

Image 2: (from left to right): Thomas Naughton, Amanda Clift-Mattthews, James Scott, Nicholas Easterman, Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Henry Grunwald CBE and Lucinda Brabazon