Development & Alumni Relations Office 


Dr Michael Knight, Reader in Law (died October 2003)

(Obituary by John Stannard, School of Law)

Many former law students will mourn the recent death of Michael Knight.  He was one of the great 'characters' of Queen's, which he served for many years, but will be remembered not just for his personality, colourful as it was, but for his devotion to students and colleagues.

Michael Knight possessed a remarkable mind.  He won scholarships to Protora Royal School in Enniskillen, and then to Trinity College, Dublin, where he excelled not only academically but also as an actor and a debater.  After graduating with high honours, he taught at Cardiff before returning to Queen's in 1965.  His groundbreaking study of criminal appeals won him the rare honour of an earned LLD, and by the age of 40 he had achieved more than most academics do in a lifetime.  Yet it was as a teacher that Michael will best be remembered.  His lectures were legendary, but he was admired most for his care, patience, and good humour.  In this respect he was a model for others to imitate.

Michael's perfectionism made it hard for him to relax.  His only refuge from his inner demons was an addiction to alcohol that ultimately cost him the career he so loved.  After a major breakdown in 1990, he retired on the grounds of ill health.  Yet with the help of his friends he managed to put his life back together again, and to help others in the same situation.  He never lost his tremendous sense of humour, or his ability to laugh at the follies of the world.  In his heyday Michael Knight was a fine academic who loved his job, but in the final decade of his life he also demonstrated his capacity to excel as a human being outside the confines of work.

Many have achived greater recognition than Michael Knight, but none will be remembered with greater affection.



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