Baroness Hale becomes Supreme Court's first female president

by Wade Massey July 23, 2017, 0:13
Baroness Hale becomes Supreme Court's first female president

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Lady Hale will be officially sworn in as president in October, along with three new justices, including a second female judge, Lady Justice Black. Hale became an honorary fellow of Girton in 1995, and was elected Visitor in 2004.

The UK Supreme Court on Friday appointed its first female president, Brenda Hale, making her the first woman to be the most senior judge in the country.

The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal for civil cases in the United Kingdom, and criminal cases from England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Ed Crosse, president of the London Solicitors Litigation Association (LSLA) and a partner with Simmons & Simmons, commented:'The appointment of such a high quality judge as Baroness Hale to President of the Supreme Court is a welcome move. She remains an educator to the core.

Law professor Simon Young Ngai-man from the University of Hong Kong said it was possible Ma would invite Hale, but he and other scholars said there were no clear rules on the matter. She will earn £225,000 a year in the position. She wasn't a barrister - [she] was an academic.

Hale's appointment came as a survey of judicial recruitment revealed that the percentage of female judges now stood at 24% in the Court of Appeal; 22% in the High Court and 28% in the wider judiciary, showing gradual increases.

Lady Hale has always been acutely aware of the need for judges to be drawn from a diverse group within society. It is also an important step towards increasing diversity within the judiciary'.

The announcement comes on the same week that figures were released that reveal the diversity breakdown of the judiciary in England and Wales.

The percentage of judges from ethnic minority background is now 7%.

Hale's appointment was announced alongside that of another woman who will join the justices sitting at the supreme court.

She taught law at Manchester University until 1984, when she became the first woman to be appointed to the Law Commission, the statutory body which promotes the reform of the law. Non-permanent judges are rotated in from a list of local judges and others from overseas common law jurisdictions.

She suggested its popularity might contribute to male dominance of the bench, thanks to "personal network relationships".

She acknowledges that she herself is part of the quadrangle by dint of going to Cambridge.

The chief justice, three permanent judges and a non-permanent judge serve at the Court of Final Appeal.

In 2011, in the housing case Yemshaw v LB Hounslow, she gave the lead judgement ruling that domestic violence was not limited to physical violence.

There has also been controversy.

"She can provide a broader perspective on a lot of issues", he said.

She now faces huge challenges. 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.

If she receives some personal criticism in the press, that will not be a first.

The UK's relationship with what is in effect the Supreme Court of the European Union remains highly contentious, and the eyes of the pro-Brexit press, in particular, will focus laser-like on decisions of our own Supreme Court on issues of European Union law.


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