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School of Law

Ian Yeats awarded the prestigious Queen Mary Medal

On 28 July 2023, Ian Yeats was awarded the Queen Mary Medal at the Department of Law’s annual graduation ceremony. The Queen Mary Medal is a prestigious honour, conferred by Council on those who have made an exceptional, sustained contribution to Queen Mary.

Ian Yeats in academic robes and holding his Queen Mary Medal

The medal recognises more than long service alone, and looks for performance and commitment beyond the normal requirements of the post held. Quite simply, Ian’s contribution to the Department over essentially its entire lifetime has been truly remarkable, and the standing ovation Ian received on the day speaks to the impact he has had on both staff and students alike.

Below is the text of the speech given on the day at the ceremony by Ian’s close friend and colleague, Professor Rachael Mulheron KC (Hon):

"Vice Principal, Ladies and Gentlemen, I present Mr Ian Yeats for the conferment of the Queen Mary Medal.

It is difficult to overstate the immense contribution which Ian has made to the fabric, esteem and standing which is now enjoyed by the Law Department, both domestically and internationally.

Ian joined the Department in October 1966, having just finished the degree of Bachelor of Civil Law at Oxford. When he joined the Department, that was in just the second year of the Department’s existence, its having opened its doors in 1965. The student intake in those days was approximately 30 students per year; and at the time of his appointment, Ian was one of only eight staff on Faculty.

From the very beginning, Ian was noted by the Foundation Dean, Professor Roger Crane, and by colleagues, to be a deeply committed and exceptionally knowledgeable legal scholar and teacher. Many of you graduating today will know Ian from his teaching of Tort Law and Administrative Law, but Ian was also responsible for both Constitutional Law and Roman Law for many years.

Over the course of the Department’s history, Ian has undertaken each of the important administrative roles within the Department, and in doing so, has shaped its development. These roles included serving as Director of Admissions (in the days when each student was interviewed for admission to the Department), and as Dean of Law in 1999–2000.

In its early years, the Department was keen to forge international links, and with that in mind, Professor Crane chose Ian to undertake the role as Drapers’ Company Visiting Lecturer at the University of Adelaide in 1974. This appointment greatly enhanced the Department’s international reputation at that stage of its relatively-youthful existence, and Ian built upon those links with Australian Law Schools from that time onwards, and to the Department’s advantage.

Another of Ian’s remarkable contributions to assist with the profile of the Department was to serve as member of the Editorial Committee of the journal, Public Law, for many years from 1981. During this time, he wrote vast amounts of scholarship for that prestigious journal, to explain and to critique developments in the field. Former Dean Professor Graham Zellick wrote in 1988 that,

‘it is really remarkable to find a single person competent to deal with all these different aspects of the subject and to shoulder the burden involved’.

Ian has also taken, and continues to undertake, a vital and important role in maintaining and developing relations with Law alumni. As Former Dean Sir Ross Cranston writes, ‘Ian has given over 50 years of service to the Law Department. He has always been a devoted teacher, and that devotion has been reciprocated over the years by his students, who remember him fondly. That includes students who are now judges and leading practitioners, not only in the United Kingdom but around the world’.

I know that I speak for all colleagues when I say that Ian has been a constant and steadfast example to us of the commitment, dedication, hard work, and the service to students, that the role of an academic entails. We have been privileged to count him as a colleague, as well as a friend.

Vice Principal, it is with great pleasure that I present Mr Ian Yeats for the conferment of the Queen Mary Medal."

Written and spoken by Professor Rachael Mulheron KC (Hon)



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