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International judge and human rights activist receives honorary doctorate

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Judge Professor Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque has been recognised for his outstanding contribution to social justice and human rights law with an honorary doctorate from Edge Hill University.

The Judge is a distinguished jurist and legal academic, having authored more than 150 opinions and significantly contributed to the development of international human rights law.

Delighted to receive the award, he said: “Well, it feels great, as an acknowledgement of our work, not only my work but the Portuguese division too, for the benefit of all the court.

“This is, I think, a major accomplishment of the promotion of a certain agenda within the court. The court is of course a civil rights court, a civil and political rights court, but it should also have a worry and concern of social rights.

“And by acknowledging this work, the University also promotes this agenda, socially and publicly so I’m deeply and profoundly attached to the values of this University because we share the same concern for the promotion of these values and rights.”

Having been in the legal profession for more than 30 years, his decisions are regularly cited by academic scholars and practitioners in human rights, public international and criminal law.

Inspiring others to join the profession, he recalls his upbringing as motivation to pursue a career in law, seeing it as the means to fight for justice; to protect the weak and empower the poor.

“I would say that it’s worthwhile, it’s something that’s worthwhile fighting for. Human rights today is a very hot topic, in many regards.

“Sometimes it’s very hard to fight for this cause; you have a very adverse context in some countries, not only in Eastern Europe but also in Western Europe. You have governments that have an agenda, which is totally adverse and contradictory to the basic foundational human rights texts in Europe, like the European Convention of Human Rights.

“So it’s worthwhile, it’s a fight that you should take if you are motivated for justice.”

Nominated by senior lecturers Dr Mariagiulia Giuffré and Dr Triestino Mariniello, the honorary award is a result of his significant contribution to strengthening Edge Hill’s research profile in human rights law.

Earlier this year, he invited the law lecturers to Strasbourg to deliver training at the European Court of Human Rights.

Commenting on the seminar they delivered, Paulo said: “It’s a very important exchange between the University and the judges. I think this bridge should be there, and the availability of professors of the highest rank and quality like Triestino and Giulia, to come to the Court and talk to the judges and listen to their concerns and worries, is fundamental in opening the Court to the real world.”

Paulo continued: “I sometimes think we live in a castle; we do not fully realise the consequences of our work and the feedback we get, so it was a very happy occasion; it was a lively debate and a very fruitful discussion with colleagues, so we are very thankful for Triestino and Mariagiulia for coming to the Court.”

The awarding of Paulo’s honorary doctorate will further cement the University’s relationship with national and international courts.

To discover the Law and Criminology courses available at Edge Hill, visit edgehill.ac.uk/law and follow @EHLawandCrim on Twitter.

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