In England, interpersonal rights and duties of support have traditionally only attached themselves to couples united by law, sex and children. Why should there not be family obligations to support siblings and parents? When a daughter has taken care of her elderly parents throughout her life, does she have rights when they die? When two sisters have lived together for decades, why are they treated less generously than civil partners when one of them dies?
Professor the Baroness Deech of Cumnor DBE received her Bachelors and Masters degrees from St. Anne's College, Oxford, before going on to further legal studies in the U.S.A. and the Netherlands. Three years after being called to the Bar (Inner Temple), she returned to St. Anne's College, Oxford, where she took up the position of Tutorial Fellow in Law, a position she held until she became the Principal of the College in 1991.
During this period, Professor Deech held a number of highly prestigious international positions within academia, the legal profession and beyond. These include Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford (2001-2004) and BBC Governor on the Audit and Fair Trade Committees (2002-2006). In 2004 she stepped down from her positions at Oxford and became the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (2004-2008).
Professor Deech's specialization is in reproductive law, medicine and ethics. Through this she was the Chairman of the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (1994-2002), a non-executive Director of the Oxfordshire Health Authority (1993-1994) and an ex officio member of the Human Genetics Commission (1991-2002).
Professor Deech's 2008/09 series of lectures focused on the legal and ethical issues surrounding reproductive medicine. Her 2009/10 series of lectures the place of various family relationships within the law since the 1960's, from divorce law to civil partnerships.