HUMAN rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti CBE has been named the new chancellor of Essex University.

The director of Liberty, the civil liberties and human rights organisation, becomes the first woman to hold the position at Essex.

She said: "The University of Essex has a proud tradition of teaching human rights and respect for the rule of law.

"I am delighted to be joining this institution that shares so many of the values we hold at Liberty.

"At a time when our freedoms are under increasing attack, we need our young people to be equipped with the tools to defend them."

Chakrabarti was one of six independent advisers appointed to support Lord Justice Leveson in his public inquiry into the press, and was chosen as one of eight Olympic Flag carriers at the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.

She was awarded an honorary degree by Essex in 2006, and returned the following year to give the Essex Law Lecture. In 2008 she launched and became Patron of the Essex Law clinic, which sees students gain experience by offering free legal advice to the public, watched over by qualified legal practitioners.

Essex Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: “I am delighted Shami is our fifth Chancellor – she is a shining example of the values the University of Essex holds dear and she will be an inspiration for all members of our University community.”