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Commemorating Cornelia Sorabji – the first woman to study law at Oxford.


The High Commission of India in the UK organized an event to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Cornelia Sorabji, the very first woman of any nationality to study law at Oxford, and also the first female Indian Barrister.

The event was organized in collaboration with Somerville College, Oxford, where Ms. Sorabji read law.

The event was very well attended with participation of senior judges, legal practitioners, faculty and students from law schools, representatives from some of the most eminent legal firms in the UK, entrepreneurs, historians, writers, editors and media personnel.


Some of the key attendees and speakers included British Indian entrepreneur and life peer Lord Bilimoria (who is also the nominated representative of the Government of India for the Indira Gandhi Scholarships at Somerville College), Dr Alice Prochaska (Principal, Somerville College), Prof. Anne Davies and Prof. Timothy Endicott Deans of Oxford Law Faculty, Lady Hazel Fox, QC, Judge Rabinder Singh (the first full-time high court judge from Asia), Judge Deborah Taylor, Malcolm Deboo, (President of the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe), and Prof. Sir Richard Sorabji (official biographer of Ms. Cornelia Sorabji).

The Acting High Commissioner, Mr. Dinesh K. Patnaik and other speakers spoke in detail about the exemplary life of Ms. Sorabji who overcame all odds to become the first woman to study at Bombay University, where she won first-class honours.

She came to Oxford with the help of a subscription raised by members of the British liberal establishment and later became the first woman of any nationality to study Law at Oxford. Cornelia Sorabji went on to serve as legal advisor to the Bengal Court of Wards, serving sequestered women, and their families, fighting for their education and legal rights.

The event also highlighted the postgraduate law scholarships for Indian students launched this year at Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development Somerville College, in memory of Cornelia Sorabji.



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