University Awards Honorary Doctorate to Advocate General

Honorary doctorate awarded to Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston at Edinburgh Law School ceremony


29 Nov 2017

The University of Edinburgh has today awarded a Doctor of Laws to Eleanor Sharpston QC at the Edinburgh Law School graduation ceremony.

Ms Sharpston has been Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Union, in respect of the United Kingdom, since 2006. She is a Fellow of King’s College, University of Cambridge and a Bencher of the Middle Temple. She has been associated with the Europa Institute for a number of years and delivered the Institute’s 2006/2007 Mitchell Lecture.

On the award of the doctorate, Ms Sharpston said:

Vice Chancellor, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am a fellow Celt. I am Scots by marriage. And, as an academic, I have worked with colleagues here in the University of Edinburgh – most notably, Dr Robert Lane – teaching and acting as external examiner in EU law. Here already are three good reasons why I am touched and deeply honoured to be given this recognition.

Producing a steady stream of competent opinions requires teamwork – unstinting support from a small team that researches, drafts, discusses, critiques, challenges and helps fine-tune each piece of work. That team has always included a trusted and much-valued Scots colleague: first Alan Baillie and latterly David Guild. In honouring me today, you are also honouring my team. Thank you on our collective behalf.

And you are making a public statement. In conferring an honorary doctorate upon someone who serves as an Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Union – that ‘foreign court’ whose jurisdiction is evoked as a red line in the Brexit negotiations – you are saying that here in Scotland you do not wish to turn your back on the project that over the last 60 years has preserved peace and created lasting prosperity on our former war-torn continent of Europe. Scots have made an immense contribution to that noble work – my laureator, Prof Sir David Edward, is a shining example. Please try to find ways of remaining open to Europe – ways of somehow continuing to benefit from and contribute to the European Union. Scots are Europeans. We need you.

Eleanor Sharpston QC | Honorary Degree Recipient

Eleanor Sharpston QC at the Graduation Ceremony · Courtesy of Douglas Robertson


The Edinburgh Europa Institute is the University of Edinburgh's research centre on European integration. Founded in 1968, it is the oldest organsation of its kind in Scotland and the UK. The Institute occupies a strategic position in academic and policy debates on Europe and organises a range of events and activities for academics, practitioners and the wider public.