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St John's College

 St John's College

About St John's College

Founded in 1909, St John’s College boasts a lively and diverse mix of students and is like no other Durham college.

Set in a series of beautiful listed buildings in Durham's historic heart, the College enjoys stunning views of the Norman Cathedral and River Wear.St John's is one of the smallest colleges, and is renowned for its welcoming and supportive atmosphere.

St John's has two distinctive yet engaged communities at its heart: a diverse community of undergraduates, postgraduates and academics studying for University degrees in all disciplines, and Cranmer Hall, a thriving Anglican theological college in which people are educated and formed for church leadership.

The College has a degree of independence within the University, both financially and in its governance. Our students study for University degrees alongside members of other colleges, but we have the freedom to do things a little differently.

St John's College,Durham University
St John's College,Durham University
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Annual Borderlands Lecture

25th October 2017, 18:15, Elvet Riverside, Lecture Theatre ER201, Dame Bobbie Cheema-Grubb

“What’s done cannot be undone” (Macbeth V. ii. 74)

‘What did Frankenstein, Raskolnikov and Judas have in common? This lecture will consider the nature of remorse and discuss its significance in the criminal justice system, in particular the role of judges who have to assess the authenticity of expressed remorse when sentencing offenders. The influence of remorse in transitional and restorative justice will also be explored. It will be suggested that the relative lack of research about the impact of remorse on such important topics as recidivism rates (and how quickly criminals re-offend) should be addressed.'

This lecture will be given by the Hon. Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb DBE.

Bobbie Cheema-Grubb was born in Derby in 1966 and brought up in Yorkshire. After state school followed by a law degree at King’s College London Dame Bobbie was called to the Bar in 1989. Her pupillage was served at the prominent criminal set 2, Hare Court and she practiced there for 25 years prosecuting and defending in serious crime but also in public law including extradition. In 2006, she was appointed Treasury Counsel based at the Old Bailey. She subsequently became Senior Treasury Counsel (one of only three women ever to achieve that elite rank) before taking silk (QC). Whilst Treasury Counsel she prosecuted over 50 murders, many terrorist trials and had a busy appellate practice.

She specialised in prosecuting cases of singular complexity or sensitivity including the first man convicted of directing Al Qaeda in the UK, the first group charged with inciting hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, allegations of torture of Maoist rebels during the Nepal Civil war and trials where national security concerns required in camera hearings such as the trial of a Chinese dissident for murder and the prosecution of a Saudi prince. She conducted a series of honour crime trials including ‘cold’ cases and those where no body had been found, such as murders committed abroad. She also advised the authorities in respect of extra-territorial fraud and corruption charges against US & European banks.

While in practice she chaired an Advocacy Training Council working group which produced an influential report on the treatment of vulnerable witnesses and defendants in courts and led to changes in training of advocates and fresh trial procedures such as ‘ground rules’ hearings. The report has been approved by the Court of Appeal in several decisions including R v Lubemba (2014). She was also independent legal adviser to the Crown Prosecution Service Hate Crime Scrutiny Panel.

Dame Bobbie is committed to the greater public understanding of the justice system and to encouraging highly talented people from all backgrounds to consider careers in law and the judiciary. She is an active Patron of the Kalisher Trust which provides educational programmes about citizenship and advocacy in schools, as well as training, internships and financial support to able but impecunious students.

Since taking up her appointment to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court in November 2015 she has sat regularly in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division and was part of the ‘special court’ giving guidance on sentencing in terrorist offences R v Kahar and others (2016). She also sits in the Administrative Court on judicial reviews and on serious trials on circuit.

Dame Bobbie lives in Putney, London, and is married to the artist, Russell Cheema-Grubb. They have three children, Harriet (21), Hugo (19) and Antonia (16). She is Patron of the University of Bristol Law Club 2017-18.

This lecture is open and free to all. However, spaces are limited so please email Clare Towns at to register.

Contact for more information about this event.

Contact Details

St John's College
3 South Bailey

0191 334 3500

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St John's College, Durham is a recognised College of Durham University and incorporates Cranmer Hall. Charity No. 1141701 Limited Company No. 113496 (England and Wales) VAT No. 334 6364 57.