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January 5, 2005<

Press Contact: Kirston Fortune, (512) 471.7330 or Jodi Bart, (512) 471-7330.

H.M. Queen Elizabeth II Confers Knighthood on Professor Basil Markesinis

Texas professor honored for his contribution to comparative law

Photo of Sir Basil Markesinis
Professor Sir Basil Markesinis (credit: Wyatt McSpadden).

AUSTIN, Texas — The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office's recent release of its "New Year Honours 2005 - Diplomatic and Overseas List," named Professor Basil Markesinis QC, DCL, FBA, as Knight Bachelor for his "services to Comparative Law and International Legal Relations." The formal investiture is scheduled to take place on March 9 in Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth II.

This award is exceptional in part because knighthoods are rarely awarded to law professors prior to retirement. It is thus believed that at the present moment there are few such instances at Oxford, Cambridge and London. This is the first known instance of a professor at The University of Texas receiving this honor.

Markesinis' official title now changes to Professor Sir Basil Markesinis QC, DCL, FBA. His wife's official title will become Lady Markesinis.

President Larry Faulkner of The University of Texas at Austin said, "Professor Markesinis has made marvelous contributions to legal scholarship across the globe. This unique recognition is fitting indeed to his accomplishments, which are broadly acclaimed by the foremost of his colleagues."

Dean Bill Powers of the Law School added, "We offer Basil our warmest congratulations on his rare accomplishment. He is a world-renowned scholar, a highly popular teacher, and continues to be a very good friend to our Law School and University."

Professor Markesinis stated, "I renew my thanks to the University of Texas, successive Presidents, Provosts, and Deans of the School of Law as well as many colleagues and friends for the confidence, friendship, and support they have shown in me and my work over so many years. My debt to Bill Powers and Gib Gayle are particularly great as is my indebtedness to my old friend and mentor Charlie Wright who inspired and guided me on so many occasions. At a moment when American - European relations are tense, I hope my new status will enable me to contribute even further to the mutual understanding and friendship that unite us even in moments of disagreements and which is based on those values which we all hold dear."

About the British Honors System

British honors are awarded on merit, for exceptional achievement or service.

Anybody can recommend a British national for an honor, which consist of life peerages, knighthoods, appointments to the Order of the British Empire and gallantry awards to servicemen and women and civilians.

The Queen chooses the recipients on the advice of the Prime Minister, to whom recommendations are sent either by government ministers or by members of the public. The honours are published in the official Crown newspaper, the London Gazette.

Private nominations, made by individuals or by representatives of organisations to the Prime Ministers' Office, make up around a quarter of all recommendations.

Honorary awards for foreign nationals are recommended by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. A number of these orders for chivalry are made after a personal decision made by the Queen.

Life Peers

Life peerages are the only form of peerages regularly created by the Sovereign.

A life peer becomes a baron and sits in the House of Lords on conferment of peerage.

These are titles which they hold only during their lifetime and are not passed to their heirs.

Knights Bachelor

The honor of knighthood comes from the days of medieval chivalry, as does the method used to confer the knighthood: the accolade, or the touch of a sword by the Sovereign.

Although Knights Bachelor do not comprise an order of chivalry, knighthood is a dignity which has its origins in Britain in Saxon times. They are styled "Sir" (except for clergymen who do not receive the accolade) and their wives "Lady".

Women receiving the honour are styled "Dame" but do not received the accolade.

About Professor Markesinis:

Basil Markesinis is an honorary QC and holds doctorates or honorary doctorates from (in alphabetical order) Athens, Cambridge, Ghent, Munich, Oxford, and Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne). After holding successively the Chairs of European Law and then Comparative Law at the University of Oxford, where he founded the Oxford Institute of European and Comparative Law, he then moved to University College London to the Chair of Common and Civil Law, which he holds simultaneously with the (part-time but tenured) Jamail Regents Chair at the University of Texas at Austin.

He has authored or co-authored twenty-six books and over one hundred legal articles, which have been published in leading law journals in America, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and the Netherlands. He has lectured extensively in twenty-five different law faculties including Cornell, Ghent, Leiden, Michigan, Munich, Paris I, Paris II, Rome, and Siena, where he has held Visiting Professorships. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Foreign Fellow of the Royal Belgian and the Royal Netherlands Academies, a Corresponding Fellow of the Academy of Athens, and a Member of the American Law Institute. In 2002 he was appointed Conseiller Scientifique du Premier Président de la Cour de Cassation (France) on matters of European law. He has received high decorations for his work on European law and integration from the Presidents of France (twice), Germany (three times), Greece, and Italy (three times). In 2002 he was promoted by the President of Italy to the highest rank of the Italian Order of Merit, Knight Grand Cross, while the President of Germany awarded him the insignia of Knight Commander of the Order of Merit, in May 2003. This past spring he was elected to the French Academy and was also awarded the rank of Commander in the Order of the Legion d' Honneur by the French Government.

Related Links:
Basil Markesinis to be Honored as Knight, in the Austin American-Statesman
Official announcement of the British Government

The Knights Bachelor badge and ribbon
Faculty profile for Professor Sir Basil Markesinis