THE mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence will join a celebrated playwright and a law reformer among recipients of honorary degrees from the University of York.

Doreen Lawrence will receive an honorary doctorate for her campaign work since the murder of her son in a racial attack in London 20 years ago.

Her efforts prompted a judicial review which concluded that racism in the Metropolitan Police led to the failure of the murder inquiry into Stephen’s death.

Mrs Lawrence will receive her degree at one of the university’s graduation ceremonies which take place on Friday and Saturday.

Other recipients of honorary degrees include Japan’s ambassador for the human rights of people affected by leprosy, Yohei Sasakawa, along with historian, author and broadcaster Bettany Hughes and Frances Patterson QC, of the Law Commission for England and Wales, who represented the university during the public inquiry into Heslington East.

Trevor Griffiths, a leading British theatre, film and television playwright, will also be honoured.

The BAFTA award-winning writer’s works include the screenplay for Warren Beatty’s 1981 film Reds. He also wrote the screenplay for Fatherland, which went on to be directed by Ken Loach.

A spokesman for the University of York said he had freely given his time to the students “offering invaluable advice during the planning of the new Department of Theatre, Film and Television, as well as giving masterclasses”.

The spokesman said of all those being honoured: “They join a roll call of outstanding individuals on whom the university has conferred honorary degrees in the past.”

The university confers honorary degrees on individuals who have made a significant contribution to society.

Recipients often have existing links with the university and are chosen from nominations made by its members.