Jo Delahunty QC appointed to 1597 Law Professorship
23 May 2016

Jo Delahunty QC appointed to 1597 Law Professorship

Jo Delahunty QC has been appointed as Professor of Law at Gresham College, London’s oldest Higher Education Institution.

In her role as Gresham Professor of Law, Professor Delahunty will continue the 419-year-old tradition of delivering free public lectures aimed at the intelligent and interested public within the City of London and beyond. 

Professor Delahunty will continue to practice at The Bar during her appointment and, as such, her lectures will reflect developments in law and society. The series of six free public lectures will deal with issues arising from her work with the law and legal processes around families and children, including cases of child abuse, radicalisation and cases which involve complex and contentious medical evidence.  The hour-long free public lectures will take place at the Barnard’s Inn Hall, EC1N:

‘Sex, Death and Witchcraft’: The Family Court – Thursday 6th October 2016, 6pm

Is one person's 'Radicalism' another’s 'Right to Free Speech'? – Thursday 24th January 2017, 6pm

When Legal Worlds Collide – Thursday 26th January, 6pm

Guilty until proven innocent? – Thursday 2nd March, 6pm

Expert Witnesses: a Zero-sum game? – Wednesday 12th April 2017, 6pm

Why there is no typical family in the Family Court – Thursday 4th May 2017

Full lecture descriptions are available from the Gresham College website:


About Professor Jo Delahunty QC

Professor Jo Delahunty QC is one of the UK’s leading barristers specialising in legal issues affecting families and children. Since being called to the Bar in 1986, Professor Delahunty has come to practice at the High Court level and above, rising to prominence for her work in cases concerning contentious medical evidence and the death of/catastrophic injures to a child; ‘shaken baby’ allegations where genetic and benign cases can mimic physical abuse; inter-generational and inter-sibling sexual abuse; ritualized abuse; ISIS radicalisation risks and cases involving vulnerable adults and victims where learning disabilities and mental health difficulties prevail.

She was appointed a QC in 2006, a Recorder in 2009 and made a Bencher of Middle Temple in 2011. She is identified as a Top Rank Silk by Chambers and Partners and is ranked as a Top Tier Silk by the Legal 500. Alongside her practice in the Family Division, between 2013–16, Professor Delahunty was instructed on behalf of 77 bereaved families in the Hillsborough Inquest, tasked with exposing the failures of the emergency medical response by the South Yorkshire Ambulance service: on 26.4.16 the Jury found that their errors and omission caused or contributed to the loss of life in the disaster. More recently, Professor Delahunty has become involved in advising organisations on risk review and the adequacy of their child protection procedures in light of The Goddard Inquiry into historic sex abuse.

About the Law Professorhsip at Gresham

The Law Professorship at Gresham dates back to the College’s founding in 1597, through the Will of Sir Thomas Gresham, founder of the Royal Exchange. Gresham College was the first higher education institution in England besides the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and it was created with the guiding principle of providing free education for all. Gresham College has seen the Royal Society formed within the College and past luminaries include Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. Recent Professors and speakers at the College include: Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Baroness (Ruth) Deech, The Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Wall, The Rt Hon the Baroness Hale, Lord Hope of Craighead, The Rt Hon the Lord Phillips, The Hon Michael Beloff, Lord Carlile of Berriew, Michael Napier QC, The Rt Hon Sir Stephen Richards, Professor Niall Ferguson and Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws.

The College continues to fill lecture halls for its four or so free public lectures every week. All Gresham lectures are made available on the internet after the event, where they join the online archive of over 2,000 lectures.


What Professor Jo Delahunty QC says on her appointment

"I have always felt drawn to work for those who are often poorly treated by the legal system, and to share the knowledge I have gained with professional and lay audiences. I strive to make the law, its practice as well as its principles, accessible to the society it serves. The opportunity to further that principle through the Gresham lectures, is therefore, very exciting.

I have based my seminar programme around a theme of access to justice by the most vulnerable in society and transparency: endeavouring to ‘open the door’ to the Family Court so that the public gains a greater understanding of those it serves and how it functions.

Through my series of lectures, I hope to present aspects of the law to a lay audience with passion, and to offer insights into what really happens inside and outside court, the realities of representing confused, damaged clients when they are faced with the formality, language, remoteness and power of the legal process. I look forward to challenging the audience’s preconceptions of our justice system and pushing them into less comfortable areas of thought and reflection."