Baroness Hale and Lady Justice Macur tipped for top jobs

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By Will Buckley on

May the best women win


It took a long time coming but there ain’t no stopping them now.

Theresa May is the new Prime Minister, Angela Merkel has been top dog in Europe for over a decade and Hillary Clinton is on the cusp of being the next American President, amid rumours that The Donald may jack it in if he thinks he can’t win.

Now even the judiciary appear to have taken notice of this global trend. Two top judicial posts fall vacant next year and women are strong favourites to fill both of them.

First up is Baroness Hale who, as the Supreme Court’s deputy president, is expected to replace Lord Neuberger who will be stepping down as president before the end of next year. In January 2004, Lady Hale became the United Kingdom’s first woman Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and she is currently the only female justice of the Supreme Court. Now, Beyoncé is about to rule Supreme.

Completing the one-two, Lady Justice Macur, a law graduate from Sheffield University, is expected to become the Lord Chief Justice — England’s most senior judge — when Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd retires next July.

Further appointments of women are likely to follow as a record six Supreme Court judges stand down in the next two years because:

One, it is generally believed that the possibility of part-time posts will make the roles more attractive to women.

Two, new equality law provisions will come into play. Specifically, the clause known as ‘the tipping factor’ which allows employers to treat a candidate from an under-represented group more favourably if:

i) Both candidates are “as qualified” as each other
ii) The employer selects on merit.
iii) Taking the action is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Given that all three are likely to apply to putative appointments to the Supreme Court it is highly probable that women, not before time, will be elected more often than not and the days of a judiciary dominated at the highest levels by men could soon be at an end.