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Home of UCL Faculty of Laws officially opened by the President of the Supreme Court

26 June 2018

Bentham House opening

UCL Laws staff, students and alumni and friends of the Faculty, were joined on Monday 25 June 2018 by the Rt Hon. Baroness Hale, President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, to celebrate the opening of the newly redeveloped Bentham House.

The building, home to the Faculty since 1965, has been transformed, providing additional space for teaching, learning and meeting, while maintaining and protecting the much loved Grade II listed rooms and features for the future.

As part of the celebrations, those gathered heard from Professor Piet Eeckhout, Dean of UCL Laws, Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Project Sponsor, Matthew Goulcher, Managing Director of the project architect’s Levitt Bernstein, Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost of UCL, and Baroness Hale, President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

Baroness Hale at the Bentham House opening

Baroness Hale was then invited to cut a ribbon symbolically placed between the new and the old wings of the building, before declaring it officially open.

Baroness Hale said:

'This project marries two very different buildings together in such an exciting way. I was involved, in a smaller way, in the redevelopment project that turned the Middlesex Guildhall into the Supreme Court. The transformation of Bentham House has a great deal in common with our experience. 

'Both buildings are light, bright, open, transparent and beautiful. Both prioritise openness, efficiency and above all, relationships. This new space enables staff and students to connect and interact. It strengthens the relationship between law teaching and study, and the law that goes on in the world outside academia. 

It's fitting how the UCL Faculty of Laws is taking a special interest in judges and judging, and is the first to do it in a systematic way. Everything about this building and what goes on inside it is inspiring.' 

UCL Provost, Bentham House opening

Professor Arthur, President and Provost of UCL said:

'The UCL Faculty of Laws' academic excellence is extraordinary; it's one of the best law faculties in the world. It has several attributes that are critical to its success: it puts students at its heart, and this is evident in the new building's very design.

It also has one of the strongest groups of alumni I've come across at UCL; their sense of affiliation is evident and this spills over into the Faculty's relationship with the legal profession in London, especially the judiciary. 

Thank you to the staff, students and alumni; the transition had its challenges but I hope you'll agree that it was very worthwhile.'

Piet Eeckhout, Bentham House opening

Professor Piet Eeckhout, Dean, UCL Laws said:

‘I am absolutely thrilled to have had the pleasure to welcome the Faculty back home to Bentham House.

UCL Laws has, at long last, a home fit for our world-leading research, teaching and social enterprise. The project has given the Faculty more than a building: it’s given us an inspiring environment in which our whole community can come together.

I look forward to seeing what the future holds for UCL Laws in Bentham House’.

Bentham House opening

Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Project Sponsor said:

‘At the very core of the vision for redeveloping Bentham House has always been how the building will support, inspire and motivate the world-class teaching and thriving research culture within UCL Laws.

The highly creative plans Levitt Bernstein produced for the building have seamlessly married the much-loved traditional spaces with bright, modern facilities, giving our Faculty a home that reflects and respects its heritage, while also supporting and driving its forward-thinking, global agenda.

It has been such an immense pleasure to lead the redevelopment from inception to completion, and I look forward to seeing the possibilities Bentham House provides for generations to come’.  

In addition to the formal opening ceremony, smaller, but equally as important activities were hosted.

Professor Dame Hazel Genn

A mahogany plaque was unveiled by Baroness Hale, commemorating the inspirational redevelopment project leadership of Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Project Sponsor, Head of the UCL Centre for Access to Justice and Dean of UCL Faculty of Laws, 2008 - 2017.

A plaque in memory of Roger Rideout, UCL Laws alumnus (LLB Laws 1956 and PhD 1958) and a core member of the Faculty from 1964 until 1999, was unveiled on the Moot Court roof. The unveiling was hosted by Professor Piet Eeckhout, and attended by Professor Rideout’s family and friends.

The day drew to a close with a Faculty Open House, in which alumni, students and other members of the Faculty community were invited for refreshments and student led tours of the new building.

Find out more about the redevelopment of Bentham House

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