Lord Justice Leveson was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Liverpool John Moores University during Wednesday’s graduation ceremony.
The Rt Hon Lord Leveson, born Brian Henry Leveson, has been leading an inquiry into press ethics following the phone hacking scandal involving the News of the World for the past eight months.
Born in Liverpool, the 63-year-old has reached the top of his profession, currently holding the role of Lord Justice of Appeal and head of the Sentencing Council, and was knighted by the Queen in 2000.
Introducing Lord Leveson, Honorary Fellow David Lynch said: “We propose Lord Justice Leveson today for his outstanding contribution to the legal profession, following a distinguished judicial career and many years of dedicated public service.
“It is with great personal pleasure that I present the Right Honourable Sir Brian Leveson, this most distinguished son of our city, for admission to our highest honour, as an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.”
Lord Leveson then delivered a short speech thanking the university for the award and offering his words of advice for Journalism students in particular on their special day.
He said: “For over 40 years I lived in Liverpool, I’m extremely proud of my roots. It is therefore with particular pleasure, along with no small measure of humility and enormous gratitude, that I accept this honour that Liverpool John Moores University bestows upon me today.
“I don’t think anybody would mind if I specifically address those who graduate in journalism and media studies. Unexpectedly, the work of the press has taken over my life for the last year, it would be odd if I did not say something about it so I will.
“Journalists and those involved in communicating words, speech, views fulfil a truly vital role in our society. And as I have said many times I fully recognise the fundamental importance of freedom of speech and the value of a free press.”
He added: “Enjoy your very well deserved success, I wish you all the very best for the future.”
Lord Leveson is one of a number of figures to receive an Honorary Fellowship from LJMU this week, following Liverpool Football Club player Jamie Carragher on Monday.