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The Supreme Court has confirmed Lady Hale is the new president of the highest court in the land. This is the first time ever a female has reached this level in the judiciary.
Breaking: Baroness Hale to be announced as first female president of the Supreme Court ? pic.twitter.com/jyDNUmlpIg
— Legal Cheek (@legalcheek) July 20, 2017
It is a great honour and a challenge to be appointed to succeed Lord Neuberger. I look forward to building upon his pioneering achievements, including developing closer links with each part of the United Kingdom, for example by sitting outside London, and improving the ways in which we communicate our work to the public. Recent high-profile cases mean that more people than ever before have heard of the Supreme Court, and we hope that this will help to create a broader understanding of how the judiciary serves society.
While I of course look forward to working alongside all my colleagues, 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.
The court has now formally substantiated the rumours circulating on social media about the appointment, which came following a report in The Times (£). Legal affairs commentator Joshua Rozenberg, for example, tweeted this:
Stand by for a series of judicial promotions and appointments expected today, starting with Lady Hale (from VP of @UKSupremeCourt to pres.)
— Joshua Rozenberg (@JoshuaRozenberg) July 21, 2017
And former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer said this:
Baroness Hale appointed first female President of the UK Supreme Court. Heads of UK Government, UK State, and UK Judiciary all now women.
— Charlie Falconer (@LordCFalconer) July 20, 2017
This news is not shocking. Deputy president Hale had been hotly tipped to land the role, even before applications opened in February this year. But it is historic.
This is most notably because Hale will be the first female Supreme Court president. The Supreme Court has had just two presidents in its short history, Lord Phillips and Lord Neuberger, but Hale’s appointment follows a double-digit number of senior lords of appeal in ordinary (the House of Lords equivalent to a Supreme Court president) all of who have been male.
This is just one of many firsts boasted by the 72-year-old judge.
She was of course the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court bench, and was too the first family judge to do the same. She was also the first ever female law lord in the House of Lords.
A woman of firsts, a vocal feminist, a proponent of gay rights and a former Manchester University academic — it’s small wonder Hale has captured the hearts and minds of the country’s law students.
But it’s not just Hale — who is believed to have heard over 500 appeals during her career — who has featured in big Supreme Court news today.
Lord Toulson retired in summer 2016, and Lords Neuberger and Clarke are soon to pack in their roles too. This means three justice-shaped holes have been left in the bench. Today we found out Lady Justice Black, Lord Justice Briggs and Lord Lloyd Jones make up this trio of new judicial stars.
UPDATE: 12:18pm Friday 21 July
This article has been amended post-publication to reflect the Supreme Court’s confirmation of these appointments.
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