Ruth Adler

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ruth Adler
Ruth Adler died 1994.png
Born1 October 1944
Ilfracombe, Devon
Died18 February 1994(1994-02-18) (aged 49)
Alma materNorth London Collegiate School, Somerville College, Oxford, University of London, University of Edinburgh
Known forChild Welfare Campaigner, Human Rights Campaigner, Feminist
ChildrenJonathan, Benjamin

Ruth Margaret Adler nee Oppenheimer (1 October 1944 – 18 February 1994) was a feminist, human rights campaigner and child welfare advocate. She was founder of Amnesty International's Scotland office as their first employee in Scotland in 1991.[1] She was a founding member of Scottish Women's Aid in 1974, a member of the Lothian Region Children’s Panel and she helped to establish the Scottish Child Law Centre.


Ruth's parents Charlotte and Rudolf Oppenheimer came from Germany to Britain as refugees in the 1930s. Ruth was born in Devon, where her father was stationed during the war.

She studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Somerville College, Oxford [2] and an MA in Philosophy at University of London. She moved to Scotland in the 1960s with her husband and children and became a part-time tutor in the Philosophy Department of Edinburgh University for many years before gaining a further PhD in Law . She was enormously influenced by her superviser Neil MacCormick. She was bilingual in English and German and, after obtaining her PhD, she and Neil collaborated in translating a number of books by leading Czech (Ota Weinberger) and German (Robert Alexy, Guenter Teubner) legal philosophers from German into English.

While working at The Scottish Child Law Centre she helped to create the first comprehensive database of child law in Scotland.[3] She was a magistrate and a Justice of the Peace. From 1987 to 1991 she was responsible for investigating complaints against solicitors[4] as Assistant to the Lay Observer for Scotland.

As a prominent member of the Edinburgh Jewish community she was editor of the Edinburgh Star.[2][5] and Secretary and President (1998) of the Edinburgh Jewish Literary Society.[4]


The theme of her thesis (1983) is legal intervention in the lives of children.[6] It was published as a book in 1985 Taking Juvenile Justice Seriously.[7]


Adler's obituary in The Independent describes her three passionate concerns:

'Her life was driven by three passionate concerns: for justice, for children and for her family. To all these she brought a formidable intelligence, unflagging energy, extraordinary determination and, above all, generosity of spirit and loving kindness. These passions were to touch the lives of countless people'.[4]

There is a plaque dedicated to Ruth Adler in the garden of University of Edinburgh Day Nursery.[8][9]

University of Edinburgh School of Law sponsor an annual Ruth Adler Memorial Lecture on Human Rights. Prominent speakers include Shami Chakrabarti in 2016;[10] Sir Stephen Sedley (2015) Professor Christopher McCrudden (2013) Professor Conor Gearty (2009).[11]

The Ruth Adler prize is awarded annually to the best student in the Ordinary course Critical Legal Thinking.[12]


  1. ^ "Inspirational Women's Day". Retrieved 2017-06-09.
  2. ^ a b "RuthAdler". 2013-05-21. Retrieved 2017-06-09.
  3. ^ Ewan, Elizabeth L.; Innes, Sue; Reynolds, Sian; Pipes, Rose (2006-03-08). The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 9780748626601.
  4. ^ a b c Cheetham, Juliet (1994-02-26). "Obituary: Ruth Adler". The Independent. Retrieved 2017-06-09.
  5. ^ "HISTORY - Page 1". Retrieved 2017-06-09.
  6. ^ M, Adler, Ruth (1983). "Rights, interests and reasoning in juvenile justice". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ M., Adler, Ruth (1985). Taking juvenile justice seriously. Scottish Academic Press. ISBN 9780707304663. OCLC 13487989.
  8. ^ "Ruth Margaret Adler | Mapping Memorials to Women in Scotland". Retrieved 2017-06-09.
  9. ^ "There are more Edinburgh memorials to remarkable women than you might think". The Scotsman. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 2017-06-09.
  10. ^ "Global Justice Academy". Retrieved 2017-06-09.
  11. ^ "Event: Sir Stephen Sedley's Ruth Adler Memorial Lecture, Edinburgh University". UK Constitutional Law Association. 2015-05-14. Retrieved 2017-06-09.
  12. ^ "Ruth Adler Prize | Edinburgh Law School". Retrieved 2017-06-09.