Baroness Helena Kennedy KC appointed to The Order of the Thistle 

Doughty Street Chambers is honoured to announce that our Founding Member, Baroness Helena Kennedy KC, has been appointed to The Order of the Thistle, the greatest order of chivalry in Scotland. 

The Order of the Thistle represents the highest honour in Scotland, recognising Scottish men and women who have held public office or who have contributed in a particular way to national life. The Order is the Scottish equivalent of the Order of the Garter in England. 

This honour is in recognition of the importance of Baroness Kennedy’s pioneering work in advancing human rights and social justice both domestically and internationally. 

Baroness Kennedy’s wide-ranging practice has included numerous high profile cases: serial murderer Myra Hindley's escape from prison in the 70s; leading cases in the 80s of abused women killing their husbands; the Guildford Four Appeal; the Brighton Bombing plot; the transatlantic liquid bomb plot; and the murder of Saudi dissident journalist and author, Jamal Khashoggi. 

In 2021, when Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, Baroness Kennedy evacuated 102 women judges and prosecutors who were on death lists (who together with their families, totalled 508 political evacuees) by raising the funds, securing safe houses, chartering planes and resettling the women around the world. She is currently working for the President of Ukraine on war crimes and trying to recover the thousands of children who have been abducted from Ukraine by Russian forces.    

Founding Head of Chambers, Edward Fitzgerald KC, said:  

"Many congratulations to Helena for being awarded the Order of the Thistle. This is the greatest honour that can be bestowed in Scotland. It is a fitting tribute to her massive contribution to the cause of justice and human rights in the UK and throughout the world. She has been a tireless champion of victims of injustice and for women's rights for many decades and is a true inspiration to us all, and will remain an inspiration for coming generations." 


The King is the Sovereign of the Order, and appointments of the Thistle are entirely in the personal gift of The King (i.e. without Prime Ministerial advice). 

In 1987, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II decided that women should be eligible for the Thistle in the same way as men, 

The new appointments are effective from 10th March 2024 and the installation ceremony is expected to take place over the summer. 

You can read more about Helena here