OXFORD Brookes University has paid tribute to the human rights lawyer who defended Nelson Mandela, Lord Joel Joffe who has died at the age of 85.

Lord Joffe, who lived in Swindon, presided over the opening of the Oxford institution’s Swindon branch the Joel Joffe Building named in his honour earlier this year.

Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, said: “I had the privilege of getting to know Joel in the past year and it was immediately apparent to all who met him what an exceptional figure he was.

“We are holding Graduation ceremonies this week and Joel had until very recently been due to receive an Honorary Degree and further deepen his relationship with Oxford Brookes which we truly valued.

“Our thoughts go out to his friends and family at this very sad time as we all reflect on the life of a remarkable individual.”