Eleanor V. E. Sharpston

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Eleanor V. E. Sharpston, QC (born 1955) is an Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The UK Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Communities since 10 January 2006, Eleanor Sharpston QC studied economics, languages and law at King’s College, Cambridge (1973–77), followed by university teaching and research at Corpus Christi College, Oxford (1977–80). She was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1980 and was a barrister in private practice from 1980–87 and 1990-2005 Queen's Counsel: 1999; Bencher of Middle Temple (2005). In the intervening years she worked as Legal Secretary (referendaire) in the Chambers of Advocate General, subsequently Judge, Sir Gordon Slynn later Lord Slynn of Hadley (1987–90). She was also a Lecturer in EC and comparative law (Director of European Legal Studies) at University College London (1990–92) and then a Lecturer in the Faculty of Law (1992–98), and subsequently Affiliated Lecturer (1998–2005), at the University of Cambridge. She was Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for European Legal Studies of the University of Cambridge (1998–2005) and remains a fellow of King’s College, Cambridge (since 1992).

Sharpston is also a member of the Irish Bar and the Gibraltar Bar. She has published books and articles on EU law. Having spent her childhood in Brazil and then her adolescence and half her practising life in continental Europe, she speaks a number of European languages. Her off-duty activities include playing classical guitar and violin, rowing and squash (in both of which she got University "blues"), karate, sailing square riggers, skiing and scuba diving.[1][2]

She served as joint head of Hailsham Chambers in London, with her colleague Michael Pooles QC, from 2003 to 2006.[3] Amongst her many high-profile cases at the Bar she was perhaps best known for acting (together with her colleague Philip Moser) for the prosecution in the case of the Metric Martyrs, Thoburn v Sunderland City Council.[4]

In 1991 she married David Lyon, a maritime historian and also a "Kingsman" whom she met through their mutual nautical interests, who died in 2000.[5]

On 7 October 2008, she was appointed First Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Communities for one year. On 21 July 2011, she was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Nottingham Trent University.

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