Former Hong Kong Chief Justice and University of Birmingham alumnus Geoffrey Ma Tao-li (LLB Law, 1997; LL.D, 2011) has been appointed as Honorary Chair and Professor in the Birmingham Law School.
He joins the University as a senior member of its distinguished academic community in recognition of his outstanding contribution to public life.
Professor Ma stepped down as Chief Justice of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal this month. He graduated from Birmingham with a Bachelor of Laws in 1977 and the University presented him with the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 2011, followed by the inaugural University of Birmingham Hong Kong Medal in 2019.
University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Sir David Eastwood commented: “As a global civic university, we are committed to working with our alumni and welcoming their contribution to changing lives in Birmingham and beyond. Geoffrey Ma Tao-li has made an outstanding contribution to public life - I am delighted that he has accepted this Honorary Chair and Professorship.
“Geoffrey has long been a proud advocate of his university and has supported Birmingham in many ways. He is a globally respected figure, a hugely successful alumnus, and I am also proud to count him as a personal friend. Geoffrey will bring great expertise and wisdom to our senior academic team as he returns to Birmingham.’
Professor Lisa Webley, Head of Birmingham Law School, commented: “During his long and successful career, first as a barrister and then a judge, Geoffrey Ma Tao-li has had a huge and lasting influence on law and the legal profession.
“I am delighted to welcome Professor Ma to Birmingham Law School. Our current students are just beginning their journey in law, but will undoubtedly find inspiration in Professor Ma’s exceptional contribution to justice and the rule of law that had its starting point at the University of Birmingham.’
Geoffrey Ma Tao-li commented: "I thank the University for this great honour. It holds a special significance for me because apart from providing me with the necessary foundation for my career in the law, I am immensely proud to be a part of this outstanding university.
“The University of Birmingham has developed into an institution that is respected globally and also has a significant relevance worldwide. The impact it has made is there for all to see - excellence in teaching and research, making a tangible contribution in an increasingly complex world. I look forward to devoting more time to the University and playing my part as best I can.’
Although born in Hong Kong, much of Professor Ma’s schooling was in England, near Manchester. After graduating from Birmingham, he was called to the English Bar (Gray’s Inn) in 1978, the Hong Kong Bar in 1980, the Bar of the State of Victoria, in Australia, in 1983 and the Bar of Singapore in 1990. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1993 and made an Honorary Bencher of Gray’s Inn in 2004, becoming an honorary bencher of Middle Temple in 2016. Professor Ma is President of the Holdsworth Club (Law Faculty) for 2020-2021.
The University of Birmingham has a global alumni community of more than 300,000 graduates. Its relationship with graduates continues long after they leave Birmingham and the University maintains regular contact with alumni groups around the world. The University of Birmingham Hong Kong Foundation was recently incorporated, to further strengthen links between Birmingham and Hong Kong.