Baroness Hale bemoans 11 years of women judges being overlooked for promotion to the highest court

Avatar photo

By Alex Aldridge on

Comments by UK’s top female judge follow Supreme Court president’s call for pro-women culture change


Baroness Hale has publicly expressed her unease at being the only woman judge in the UK’s highest court for a whopping 11 years.

Speaking to the Sunday Times magazine yesterday, deputy Supreme Court president Hale admitted feeling “disappointed” that since she was made the first female law lord in 2004 all 13 new appointments to the highest rank of the bench had been men.

“I’m still the only woman: something that must change,” she said.

Hale’s comments come in the wake of remarks made by Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger in a lecture at the University of East London last week, in which he called for a legal profession culture change to make it equally acceptable for men to look after children.

“We must foster a culture which renders it just as acceptable for men to look after children and look after the house as it is for women,” he said.

Elsewhere in the wide-ranging Sunday Times interview, for the paper’s ‘A Life in the Day’ feature, Hale took issue with wigs, which she branded as “silly”. She explained:

“Women barristers originally wore wigs to look like their male colleagues, but we’re beyond that now, so I hope the judiciary abandons them soon. Wigs looked silly when the first woman barrister wore one in 1922, and they look even sillier now.”

An additional interesting titbit of information was provided with Baroness Hale’s revelation that she failed to get an Inns of Court scholarship — despite getting a starred first from Cambridge. As a result, she had to do her bar exams “via a self-tuition correspondence course”.

According to the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website, eight out of 38 judges in the Court of Appeal are women, and 21 out of 108 High Court judges are women. Baroness Hale remains the only woman member of the UK Supreme Court, which comprises 12 justices.