Tribute to Lord Joel Joffe

Monday, 19 June 2017

Joel Joffe

Oxford Brookes has received the sad news that former human rights lawyer and long-time Swindon resident Lord Joel Joffe has died.

Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University said: “It is tremendously sad to hear that Lord Joel Joffe has passed away. 

“Joel was a truly inspirational figure throughout his life. His achievements ranged from campaigning for human rights and social justice to supporting charitable efforts both in Africa and closer to home. 

“His commitment to the NHS in Swindon meant that it was entirely fitting that we named our new campus building in the town after him. 

Our thoughts go out to his friends and family at this very sad time as we all reflect on the life of a remarkable individual.

Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University

“I had the privilege of getting to know Joel in the past year and it was immediately apparent to all who met him what an exceptional figure he was. It was a special occasion for Oxford Brookes to pay tribute to him as he attended the official opening of the Joel Joffe Building, named in his honour earlier this year. 

“We are holding Graduation ceremonies this week and Joel had until very recently been due to receive an Honorary Degree and further deepen his relationship with Oxford Brookes which we truly valued. 

“Our thoughts go out to his friends and family at this very sad time as we all reflect on the life of a remarkable individual.”

Lord Joel Joffe began his career as a Human Rights lawyer in South Africa where he defended President Nelson Mandela and President Jacob Zuma amongst others. 

He subsequently moved to the UK where he was a Founder Director and then Deputy Chairman of Allied Dunbar Assurance based in Swindon and now part of Zurich Life. He chaired The Swindon and Marlborough Health Authority and The Ridgeway Hospital and was a member of The Royal Commission on the Care of the Elderly. 

In the voluntary sector, Lord Joffe was a Trustee of Oxfam for 18 years including the last five as Chair until November 2001. He was a Trustee of a range of other charities including Action for Development and Disability, International Alert, The Legal Assistance Trust for South Africa, The Canon Collins Trust and Management Accounting for NGO’s. 

Lord Joffe was also Chair of The Allied Dunbar Charitable Trust - the largest corporate Trust in Swindon and Wiltshire, Chair of Swindon Council for Voluntary Services (SCVS), The Giving Campaign and The Joffe Charitable Trust. He was also a member of the Steering Committee which founded The Per Cent Club. 

Lord Joffe was raised to the Peerage in 2000 and introduced the Patient Assisted Dying Bill in the House of Lords in 2003 and then the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill in 2004 and subsequent Bills. In 2016, he received the Freedom of the City of London.