Sir Geoffrey Bowman to receive honorary doctorate from School of Advanced Study, University of London

Monday 19 November 2007

The School of Advanced Study is pleased to announce that former First Parliamentary Counsel, Sir Geoffrey Bowman, will receive the degree of Doctor in Laws honori causa from the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Sir Graeme Davies, at the School’s Graduation Day on Friday 7 December.

Geoffrey Bowman was called to the Bar in 1968. He joined the Parliamentary Counsel Office in 1971 and has drafted Bills on many subjects including finance and taxation, trade unions, chemical weapons, elections, criminal procedure, proceeds of crime, education, local government and the health service. He served two secondments as a draftsman at the Law Commission, where he drafted the consolidation Bills that became the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980.

In 2002 Geoffrey Bowman became First Parliamentary Counsel and, as Permanent Secretary of the Office, he was responsible for turning the wishes of Parliament into coherent law. In his time as First Parliamentary Counsel he gave evidence to various committees at both the House of Lords and the House of Commons. He was knighted (KCB) in 2004 and in 2006, when he retired, he was made an honorary Queen’s Counsel (QC). Currently serving on the council of the Statute Law Society, he continues to draft part-time for the Tax Law Rewrite project of HM Revenue and Customs.

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the School has enjoyed a special relationship with Sir Geoffrey Bowman. He has given numerous lectures on the Institute’s programmes and at student receptions and he was the speaker for the very successful Sir William Dale Memorial Lecture in 2005. Professor Sherr, Director of the Institute, said "Sir Geoffrey Bowman’s intellectual excellence is demonstrated by his academic record and teaching experience, and by his appointment as First Parliamentary Counsel. He is at the forefront of the plain language movement, and he vigorously advocates a legislative style that combines intellectual rigour and accuracy with simplicity and clarity. [He] … has been extremely supportive of the work of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies ... [and] has been very willing to share his experience and to recognise the value of interdisciplinary approaches to legislation and drafting. He therefore represents the values of the School of Advanced Study."

For more information, please go to or contact the Dean’s Office, School of Advanced Study on 020 7862 8659 /

The School of Advanced Study at the University of London brings together the specialised scholarship and resources of ten prestigious postgraduate research Institutes to offer academic opportunities across a wide range of subject fields in the humanities and social sciences.

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, one of the Institutes that comprise the School, was formed in 1947 to promote, facilitate and disseminate the results of advanced study and research in the discipline of law, for the benefit of persons and institutions in the UK and abroad.