Joyce Arram 1935-2018: Piecing together a Jigsaw of a Life devoted to Liberalism

Many will already have heard of the passing of Joyce Arram on 11 November 2018.

Joyce was the Deputy President of Lib Dem Lawyers. I had known Joyce since my days as the membership secretary of Liberal Lawyers in the early 1980s, when Bernard Budd QC was the Chair and Tim Clement Jones the organising secretary. Joyce subsequently became secretary of the Association for many years and was a lifelong Liberal.

Her devotion to the Liberal Party was shown by the many times she was a local government and parliamentary candidate as well as an attender at every party conference, where she would could invariably be found on the LibDem lawyers stand in the exhibition area.

Joyce is remembered as being part of seven female Liberal Candidates (the others were Christina Baron, Sarah Curtis, Penny Jessel, Margaret Snow, Delia Venables and Nesta Wyn Ellis) who protested in 1976 outside the National Liberal Club about the fact that women were not until then admitted to full membership following the passing of the Sex Discrimination Act.

Her commitment to Liberal Democrat friends of Israel was shown in an obituary prepared by Lord (Monroe) Palmer LibDem.
At the age of six, Joyce was evacuated to Wales during World War II and was devoted to her cottage in Carmarthenshire. Although from London, Joyce was always very supportive of Welsh culture, giving readings at the National Liberal club St David’s Day dinners. Joyce was a regular attender of the annual Lloyd George Society weekends in Llandrindod Wells. The Lord George society are holding a Joyce Arram Memorial lecture at the National Liberal Club on Monday, 25 November 2019 at 7 PM to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles, to consider the role played by David Lloyd George at the Paris Peace Conference and the consequences of the treaties. The speaker will be critical historian Alistair Cooke OBE, (Baron Lexden), and will be chaired by Baroness Sarah Ludford.

Joyce was not a solicitor and started her career as a solicitor’s clerk. However, Joyce was adamant that they should be recognised as a profession and was active in the development of Institute of Legal Executives. She was at the forefront of the Institute in obtaining a Royal Charter becoming the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX). Joyce was a director and then Honorary Vice President of CILEX. However, not only did Joyce promote the cause of Legal Executives, but her concern for access to justice led her to be an active member of and was closely involved with the Personal Support unit (PSU), which provided help for unrepresented litigants in the High Court.

Joyce’s interests were very varied. There is a story to tell and to be shared about her activities in every group and every facet of her life. Only Joyce knew it all and she is no longer here to tell us. Rights-Liberties-Justice (Lib Dem Lawyers) are seeking to bring together those varying and disparate aspects of Joyce life, so we can prepare a full story and have a student working on this project over the summer. If you feel you can contribute to this, please let me know any stories or incidents, so we can include them – ([email protected]).

* Graham Colley is Chair of the Lib Dem Lawyers Association

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Bernard Aris 7th Aug '19 - 11:31am

    What a moving in memoriam for a formidable Lady.

    We Dutch Social Liberals have a similarv example: Coby Tendeloo MP, who in the 1950’s almost single-handedly succeeded in getting a law adopted to give women (adult and/or married) their right back to do business and tax transactions and control their own finances.

    Social Liberalism always has excelled in counting spirited women lawyers, passionate for their cause (Tendeloo, suffering from the cancer that would kill her within the year, postponed some operations for the final votes about het initiative-law) who have contributed so much in ameliorating and humanising their societies, asmong their activists and elected politicians.

  • Tony Greaves 7th Aug '19 - 3:19pm

    Sad news. Joyce was typical of the Liberal party and the Liberal Democrats – a long-term colleague and often (in the earlier days in particular) a staunch opponent on some things – who in later years one greeted as an old friend. The last time I talked to her she tried to sell me a poppy outside Earl’s Court Underground station. I explained that I did not wear a poppy (for reasons that seemed very rational sixty years ago, and why change the habit of a lifetime?) But I gave her a generous donation, more than I’d have paid for a poppy!

    I remember one meeting of the National Executive of the Liberal Party circa 1970/71 when she tried to get the party to take action against her local Young Liberal branch which had removed her as a Vice-President “and replaced me with a man called Arafat”.
    Some issues don’t go away. Party conferences will not be quite the same with out Joyce.

  • Richard Underhill 7th Aug '19 - 7:29pm

    Sad about Joyce. I met her many times in her numerous roles. Always charming.
    May I mention a possible typo?
    “annual Lloyd George Society weekends in Llandrindod Wells. The Lord George society”
    PM Winston Churchill offered to nominate DLG a peerage in 1945, which must have caused much anguish, given the time he took to decide. (ISBN 978-0-00-721940-0 pages 533-4)
    “But finally Lloyd George could no longer accept that he no longer had a part to play in public life and the telegram was sent ‘gratefully accept’ Frances confessed that her heart beat a little faster.”
    ” ..on 11 February Lloyd George was gazetted as Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor.”
    Frances was henceforth a countess.
    Graham Colley:
    “lecture at the National Liberal Club on Monday, 25 November 2019 at 7 PM ”
    Is this for NLC members or for anyone who wishes to attend?
    Is there a dress code?
    Will we be seated in the Lloyd George room?
    Will the restaurant be open?

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