History made: Lady Hale to become first female president of the Supreme Court

Who run the world? Girls

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.

She said:

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.

Hale added:

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:

And former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer said this:

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.

Baroness Hale, the Beyonce of the legal world

Posted by Legal Cheek on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

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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29 Comments

Anonymous

Lady Token strikes again.

They can put as many women in leadership positions as they want, but it will never hide the crass gender inequalities that pervade the nation.

(7)(18)
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Anonymous

I agree, like more women going to university than men, more men going to prison than women for comparable crimes, more suicides among men when compared to women, men’s lower life expectancy and higher mortality in job roles, men’s higher incidence of depression and lower quality of life when compared to women and the list goes on … crass indeed.

(12)(4)
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Anonymous

@10.37

Oh I’m sorry. Of course you’re right – Britain in a gleaming beacon of gender equality. How silly of me *forehead slap*

(0)(5)
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Anonymous

I agree that this is not a complete answer to overall gender inequality, but women getting recognition at the highest levels is important. I am delighted by this news. I don’t think that anyone would argue that any of the current Supreme Court Justices will go down in history as one of the great members of the highest court in the land (which is a real shame but a separate issue), but nonetheless, the current context being what it is, Lady Hale is a very deserving President.

(8)(3)
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Anonymous

So, by my count, we now have:

A female prime minister
A female first minister
A female monarch
A female president of the Supreme Court
And even a female Doctor Who

And STILL feminists aren’t satisfied. What exactly do they want: 100% of all jobs to be held by women?

(20)(14)
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Anonymous

Well as far as I can see, there are still differences in gender outcomes. As a commenter above pointed out, this hurts people of both genders. However, I’m not really interested in getting into a fight about this, and if you are satisfied that everyone “clearly” has an equal opportunity, I’m not sure why you’re worrying about this or picking a fight. Surely that’s a job well done, so you can chill out and not write angry comments online. You’re the only one ‘whining’ here. Personally I am delighted with this announcement.

(2)(10)
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Anonymous

“Well as far as I can see, there are still differences in gender outcomes”

Ah, another person who doesn’t understand the difference between equality of opportunity, and equality of outcome…

(10)(2)
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Anonymous

A female monarch. Yes – the Queen is a shining example of a strong independent woman who attained her position through hard work, determination and meritocratic endeavour.

Except she’s the complete opposite.

(5)(5)
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Anonymous

Only everything. If Brexit goes ahead most of us will lose our jobs over the next few years, and then after a decade or so the food shortages will begin and chaos will ensue. Needs to be stopped.

(1)(2)
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Lord Noburgers

Lady Hale didn’t offer very much during the Supreme Court hearing for the triggering of Article 50 appeal. Her only real challenge to the Respondent to the appeal was regarding the pronunciation of “De Keyser”.

(1)(6)
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Trainee

I don’t agree with most of her judgments that make the textbooks but they usually at least offer an interesting or, at the very least, different, take on things. It’s useful to have such voices around to keep you on your toes.

Being saddled with the above opinion, that Hale is mainly good as a left-field influence, can’t see why she would be made prez except for all other things being equal and gender tipping the balance. Don’t like quotas but does this position really mean that much in the grand scheme of things? Her decisions still hold the same weight. So nothing against in principle.

But will it affect gender composition of the judiciary? Can’t see how it can. The issue is with the legal profession, along with certain other ‘top’ professional services or similar professions, being a pretty ruthless environment in which time lost for having kids is hard to get back. It’s not as if we’re short of female law students or female NQ solicitors/baby barristers….

The challenge is making the profession more accommodating to those returning from maternity leave. essiest way to do this is to
Encourage paternity leave – allow paternity pay and provisions to match your maternity provisions, encourage men to look after the kids for a few years. Once men have a stake in returning to work after leave it will be easier for all.

Can’t really see any gender significance in this.

(0)(0)
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Anonymous

Good that we have another woman breaking the glass ceiling.

However, she bases her judgements on political whiff rather than legal authority, and if that attitude continues I can see a troubled future for our legal system.

(1)(0)
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