Claire Palley received an honorary doctorate in law. A South African, Palley was the first woman to become a law professor in the United Kingdom and the dean of a law school. She graduated with an LLB from UCT in 1952. In 1965 she obtained her PhD from the University of London. She has an MA from the University of Oxford (1984) and an LLD (honoris causa) from Queen's University, Belfast.
She began her academic career as a lecturer in law at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Palley moved on to a distinguished career as a scholar. Between 1971 and 1973 she was dean of the Faculty of Law at Queen's University. In 1974 she became master of Darwin College, University of Kent at Canterbury, and from 1984 to 1991 was the principal of St Anne's College, Oxford. She pioneered the way for women in academic law in a profession known for its conservatism.
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