Honorary Graduate's Speech: Mr Tim Brooks, Doctor of Laws (LLD)
Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Mr Tim Brooks was awarded his honorary degree
for his contribution to public life in Leicestershire over several decades. Mr
Brooks, a JP, has been Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire since 1989 and is a
former High Sherriff of the county. He received his honorary degree on
Thursday, July 11 during the afternoon degree ceremony. The following is his
response after the degree ceremony oration.
Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor, my lords, ladies and gentlemen - most especially graduands. As you will appreciate as a totally non-academic 'tiller of the soil', I stand before you humble, but just as today is so special for all of those graduating so it is particularly special for me.
I am delighted
to receive this Honorary Doctorate from such a respected University. I am humbled however to think how little I deserve this accolade
but regard it as a mark of respect for all those that have assisted me in the
role of Lord Lieutenant for the past 13 years, most especially those who work
so hard to make Leicester and Leicestershire a better place for all to live
and work in - also to those wonderful people who give their time voluntarily
for so many charitable courses.
For me, coming
as it does in the Queen's Golden Jubilee Year, and close to my retirement I am
particularly thrilled. I would like to
congratulate all of those graduands here today who have worked so hard over
the recent years to achieve your ambition.
I know how much you will owe to your parents and University staff for
all our help and support and to your friends who have encouraged you through
the tough times and laughed with you through the good ones.
Many, many congratulations to you all.
The Public Orator has been generous in his introduction and no doubt added to any skimpy knowledge you may have had of the duties of a Lord Lieutenant. You may have thought that Lord Lieutenants spent their time being entertained at dinners and smoking cigars. This is only part of the truth, as cigars are not one of my own indulgences. However you may have heard of the wealthy man who purchased a very expensive box of two dozen mature Havana cigars for the sum of 24,000 dollars. He thought he should insure them and added them to his household contents policy. He greatly enjoyed smoking them for the next month or so and, when the box was empty, he decided to enter a fire claim against his insurers. They not surprisingly refused to pay but he took them to court and the Judge found to his regret that clearly under the terms of the policy the insurers must pay in full - this in spite of the fact that not even the premium had been paid. However the insurers brought a criminal charge against the man; arson on twenty-four different occasions! The defendant was found guilty on all counts; fined one thousand dollars on each and ordered to pay costs with two years jail in default!
That strikes a
little bell in my mind because I have, Iím pleased to say, my cousin here
today - and when I was turning out my Grandfather's house in Lancashire, I
came across some old cigars. Being a
non-smoker and not realising anything about cigars I thought they must be too
old to be any good at all and in turning out everything I put them on the
bonfire. Perhaps I might have had a claim, but I knew my cousin was very sad
that they went that way.
As Lord Lieutenant and a long-standing Magistrate, my commitment to the demanding role of the voluntary work of Justices of the Peace has been considerable. This has given me some insight into the legal system, though I hesitate to say this in front of newly-inspired and qualified law students as yourselves.
Chancellor's department appears to enjoy sending directives to the wonderful
Magistrates who undertake 95% of criminal of court work in this country in
their free time. He expects more of
them each year in the course of their work. They are the backbone of our
country - long may they continue to bear the strain and be gratefully
The old adage
about the law being an ass is sadly occasionally true - especially so at
present when there is so much new legislation inadequately drafted and
insufficiently debated. I always feel
that lawyers have an unfair advantage if they wish to stand for parliament due
to their very professional training ranging from powerful oratory to dulcet
They also have enormous responsibilities in using these attributes with honesty and integrity for the good of the country. The excessive litigation inspired from across the Atlantic may earn lawyers a fortune, but monetary compensation can never correct an earlier misfortune or injustice. Coming shortly before the white paper on the criminal justice review I trust that our Lords and Masters will not forget that justice should never be dictated by the financial constraints of the treasury nor by the illusory benefit of centralisation.
I have no doubt that you will have plenty of areas of work to consider for your future careers, but I sincerely hope that whatever you take on you will really enjoy the direction you choose and that it will bring credit both to you and to the University of Leicester. Many congratulations again, and my very best wishes to you all.
Last updated: 26 July 2002 17:00
Created by: Rachel Tunstall
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