By Luke Power
It is with great sadness that Palatinate shares the news of the passing of Aaron Baker, Associate Professor (Reader) of Law at Durham Law School, after a courageous battle with health issues over the last year.
Baker had held various leadership positions at the University since 2002, and was popular with fellow staff and students alike. Alongside his academic commitments, he held the position of Harassment and Diversity Officer within Durham Law School.
Before entering academia, Baker served a distinguished career in law, and for five years he represented employers and employees in disability, race, gender, and age discrimination as an employment trial lawyer.
After this, he read for the Bachelor of Civil Law at St Peter’s College, Oxford, subsequently gaining employment at Plymouth University and then Durham University.
At Durham, Baker introduced ‘communities of practice’, an innovation that still underpins university strategy. His employment law module was among the most popular on offer.
The book he co-authored, Smith and Wood’s Employment Law, is credited as a valuable guide to employment law, often acting as a significant text in the studies of a student of law. Baker built up an impressive body of research, and wrote on topics such as anti-discrimination law.
Friends, colleagues and former students have paid tribute to Baker on social media. Professor John Linarelli, Professor of Commercial Law at Durham University, wrote that he was “one of the most conscientious colleagues I’ve had the privilege to work with.”
Many individuals mentioned times that Baker had supported them, both on a personal and academic level. Former student Lily Wildman wrote that “Aaron was incredibly supportive throughout my second year and was the reason I became interested in employment law.”
Friend and colleague Professor Thom Brooks, Dean and Chair in Law and Government, said that “he is greatly missed by all who knew him” and that it was “A devastating loss for all of us.”
To commemorate Baker, yesterday Brooks announced that the Law Department had launched an Aaron Baker Memorial prize for students of employment law.
Image: Fellwalker via Creative Commons