The academic community of UCL Laws is mourning the passing of the esteemed and pioneering law professor, Valentine Korah.
Professor Valentine Korah was one of the first three female law professors in the UK and the first at UCL, setting a path for further women to follow in the field. After obtaining her LLB in 1949, LLM in 1951 and PhD in 1965 graduating from UCL, Professor Korah called to the Bar in 1954 and remained at UCL Laws for much of her career.
In 1964, Professor Korah and the economist Basil Yamey of LSE established the first postgraduate taught course on competition law and policy. Professor Korah also served as a civil servant in her lifetime, helping draft the UK Monopolies and Mergers Commission Bill in 1970. She also advised the Price Commission quango in 1973 to assist in controlling inflation.
Her contribution to competition law and the European Community cannot be overstated, as is evidenced in her numerous books and articles on the matters throughout her career. The most acclaimed of her works, Competition Law: Analysis, Cases, & Materials was published in 2019 (Oxford University Press).
Professor Sir Jeffrey Jowell, KCMG KC, UCL Law Faculty, stated fondly of Professor Korah: “I first encountered Val at a seminar at the LSE when I was teaching there in the mid-seventies. she had been recommended as an expert and pioneer in what was then called ‘monopolies and restrictive practice law’ (now competition law). I was immediately struck by her razor-sharp intellect, high eloquence and piercing laugh. She relished an exchange of views with her audience. When one of them would advance a dubious proposition, she always gave them another chance to ‘convince me’. When I became Dean of the UCL Law Faculty I had no hesitation in proposing her to the College for promotion to professor; the first woman Chair in the Law Faculty. Val was renowned for her clear and critical lectures. She was a figure of huge affection and admiration who raised the reputation of UCL – in the UK and all over Europe.”
Professor Ioannis Lianos, UCL, paid respects to the professor saying, “Valentine Korah has made a foundational contribution to the emergence of competition law as a separate legal field in Europe and the UK. In fact, one cannot think of EU competition law and its transformation the last six decades without thinking of the work of Valentine Korah. She taught generations of students and scholars in competition law at UCL, at the College of Europe in Bruges, at Fordham University and many other Universities around the world who were profoundly influenced by her work and teachings. Her passion for her field but also her original and friendly personality, her genuine interest for the professional development of her students and young colleagues, her wit and generosity made her a much beloved teacher, colleague, mentor and friend. The global community of competition law but also the competition law community at UCL is much poorer today.”
Moreover, Dr Deni Mantzari, UCL Laws expressed her time with Professor Korah saying, “I was incredibly fortunate to meet Valentine Korah first as an LLM student and later as her research assistant during my PhD studies at UCL Laws. Valentine was a towering figure, but she was also a friend and a mentor to me and to the countless number of students who studied competition law at UCL Laws for over half a century. She was a remarkable teacher, who cared deeply about her students’ careers and potential, always probing them to think harder and deeper. ‘Convince me!’ was her much-invoked phrase during our joint tutorials in competition law. Her commitment to our Faculty was truly admirable. She was also a role model, especially for young, aspiring women in the field, being herself the first Chair in Competition Law at UCL Laws, and one of the first women appointed to a Chair in Law in the UK.”