Dame Vivien Rose becomes Honorary Fellow

Dame Vivien Rose, in court robes, stands beside the statue of Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett

Vivien Rose left Newnham 40 years ago, as a young law graduate. This month she returned, now one of the UK’s most eminent lawyers, to become an Honorary Fellow of the College. 

The photograph above shows her on the day that she was sworn in as a Justice of the Supreme Court, wearing her Supreme Court robes, and standing alongside the statue of our co-founder, Millicent Garrett Fawcett. Lady Rose explained, “The photographer engaged by the Court kindly agreed to hop across to Parliament Square and take some shots of me with the splendid statue of Millicent Fawcett. It was a very moving moment to stand next to her on my special day.”

That she chose to have a photograph taken with Millicent Fawcett shows how much Lady Rose values her ongoing relationship with Newnham, as she described in her lively talk following her signing of the College Book. Current Newnham students, particularly law students, were fascinated by her career, and she answered questions both highly technical and broad.

Dame Vivien Rose (NC 1979) is one of the 11 Justices of the Supreme Court, which hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance in the UK. This follows a distinguished legal career, much of it in the Civil Service. This personal interview in Counsel Magazine explores her journey, including her experiences as the first woman to be taken on in Monckton Chambers.

Lady Rose practised as a barrister at Monckton Chambers for ten years, specialising in EU and UK competition law. However, she came to find the role increasingly frustrating and stressful, and made the leap to join the Government Legal Service. “In government service there was high quality work and more variety,” she told Counsel Magazine. She served as a legal adviser on financial services at HM Treasury until 2001, including steering through and implementing the giant Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. In 2002 she was appointed to the Senior Civil Service and moved to the Ministry of Defence as Director of Operational and International Humanitarian Law. From 2005 to 2008 she was seconded to the Office of Counsel to the Speaker of the House of Commons.

In 2006 she was appointed to her first judicial role as a fee-paid Chairman of the Competition Appeal Tribunal. She was appointed to further tribunal posts and became a Recorder in the criminal jurisdiction, South Eastern circuit in 2010. In May 2013 Dame Vivien was sworn in as a High Court Judge in the Chancery Division, presiding over cases covering the full range of Chancery work, including trademarks for champagne and cycling gear, directors’ fraud, probate and insolvency law, and competition law.

Lady Rose was President of the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) between 2015 and 2018 and was a nominated judge of the Financial List from its inception. She received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award by Euromoney Institutional Investor Legal Media Group as part of their annual Europe Women in Business Law Awards.  She was appointed to the Court of Appeal in January 2019.

In April 2021, Lady Rose was appointed to the Supreme Court, the fourth woman to be appointed in the Court’s history.

We are delighted to welcome her back to Newnham.