This year, on 12 May 2024, we mark 30 years since the untimely death of John Smith QC MP.

The John Smith Trust was established more than 25 years ago to work with young leaders and support their vision for fairer, more sustainable and inclusive societies.

There are now more than 500 John Smith Fellows who, in their own lives and work, have gone on to promote John Smith’s and the Trust’s core values on governance, social justice and climate action to improve the well-being of their societies.

The John Smith Trust and its founder, Baroness Elizabeth Smith, are proud of this growing legacy and thank the many friends and supporters of the Trust who have contributed over the years.

On International Women’s Day (8 March), we held an event at the Faculty of Advocates to celebrate women in public life and the legacy of John Smith.

Catherine Smith KC, John Smith Trust board member, said: “John Smith was an early champion of women’s rights, introducing all-female shortlists in the Labour Party in 1993 – paving the way for a record number of female MPs being returned in the 1997 General Election.

“This event marks 30 years since his passing, but more importantly celebrates the incredible women who have benefited from the development programmes that have run in his name since then. Amongst them are many game-changing lawyers, and the Faculty of Advocates has been hosting these talented women for many years. John Smith was a very proud member of Faculty in his day, so we are delighted to be celebrating his legacy in partnership with them.”

Helena Kennedy, KC, is a leading barrister, an expert in human rights law, civil liberties and constitutional issues and a member of the House of Lords. She knew John Smith personally and was a guest speaker at the event. “He was a great hero to me, and something of a mentor, because, of course, he was in my profession, too,” she says. “He was a great lawyer.”