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Lord Rodger elected Visitor of Balliol College
12 Dec 10
Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, a Justice of the Supreme Court, has been elected the new Visitor of Balliol College, Oxford.
He succeeds Lord Bingham who died in September after a 16-year period as Visitor.
Lord Rodger has been High Steward of Oxford University since 2008 and in his new role will be an adviser to the Master Andrew Graham and Fellows of Balliol. If required, he will also rule on disputes over the college’s governing rules. Disagreement is highly unlikely, however – the last such visitation was nearly 350 years ago.
Andrew Graham said: 'We are absolutely delighted to have such a distinguished member of the judiciary following in the footsteps of Lord Bingham. When all is going well, the Visitor does nothing that is visible. But he can be a source of wise and confidential advice.’
Balliol is unique among Oxford colleges in electing its own Visitor, a right granted in 1507 and upheld in its Statutes. Until then, the complex rules governing the appointment of Visitors rendered them largely unworkable.
One of the best known Visitors was Shute Barrington, Bishop of Durham, who in 1807 played a central role in backing successful attempts to open college fellowships to competition.
‘Balliol was the first college to do this and much of Balliol’s subsequent fame may be traced back to that decision,’ Andrew Graham says. ‘We are therefore rather proud of our Visitors.'
Lord Rodger, 66, was Dyke Junior Research Fellow at Balliol from 1969 to 1970 and a Fellow and Tutor in Law at New College, Oxford from 1970-1972. He joined the Scottish Bar in 1974 and was made a Life Peer and Privy Councillor in 1992. He was appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court in October 2009.
Herbert Asquith, Harold Macmillan and Edward Heath were all students at Balliol, as were Adam Smith, Aldous Huxley and Graham Greene. Cressida Dick, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, politician Yvette Cooper and London Mayor Boris Johnson are more recent alumni.