The Baroness Hale of Richmond
The Baroness Hale of Richmond (Brenda) is described as ‘a legal trailblazer’. She is President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and is the UK’s first female top judge, sworn in on 2 October 2017, having been the deputy since 2013. Lord Neuberger who she is succeeding said of her appointment: “a fitting pinnacle to a truly ground-breaking career“.
Born in Richmond in North Yorkshire, Lady Hale’s other career highlights include becoming the UK’s first woman Law Lord in 2004, and then the first woman Justice of the Supreme Court in 2009.
She has previously criticised the judicial appointments system for selecting from a pool of predominantly white men from similar economic and academic backgrounds. The Bar Council said of the appointment: it will “serve as encouragement to all” for greater diversity in law.
Baroness Hale of Richmond began her career teaching law at the University of Manchester, becoming Professor of Law in 1986. In 1984, she became the first woman to be appointed to the Law Commission – the statutory body which promotes the reform of the law. She spent 10 years redefining the face of family law, and was instrumental in legislation such as the Children Act of 1989. She was the founding editor of the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, and authored a pioneering case book on the family, law and society. Lady Hale was made QC in 1989, and a High Court judge in 1994. She went on to become the UK’s first woman Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in January 2004, and then the first woman Justice of the Supreme Court in 2009 – and the first family lawyer to fill the post.
Commenting on her own appointment, she said: “It is a particular pleasure for me to be taking up the post at the same time as we welcome only the second ever woman to sit on the UK’s top appeal court.”
Baroness Hale once said of her own career: “I have had such an unusual career, my colleagues don’t compare themselves to me in the way that they otherwise might.”
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