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Lady Hale celebrates first birthday since taking Supreme Court’s helm

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She will spend it in court

Lady Hale will spend her first birthday as the president of the Supreme Court not enjoying a slice of Victoria sponge but by hearing a miscarriage of justice case on appeal from Antigua and Barbuda.

Today is both Hale’s 73rd birthday and the Williams hearing, which she’ll be sitting on in her capacity as a justice on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. She will hear the case alongside Lords Carnwarth, Hughes and Briggs, and Lady Black. These justices will consider whether there has been a miscarriage of justice in a case where a first-instance judgment has been given against a party who wasn’t present nor represented at the hearing.

It’s all in a day’s work for Hale, who since her last birthday has decided cases on topics including: discrimination at the bar, Scotch whisky and smoking in prisons. But the achievement she’s perhaps best known for is making it to the Supreme Court’s highest post, its president, in October 2017 — the first woman ever to do so.

Hale has not had a typical ascent into the profession’s highest echelons.

Raised by a single working mother after her father passed away when she was 13, Hale snubbed the profession from which most top judges are taken: the bar. While the 73-year-old did study law at Cambridge and train as a barrister, she packed it in to pursue a career in academia. The top judge taught law at the University of Manchester full-time for 18 years, where she will next week return to give a lecture to students and staff.

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15 Comments

Sir Ponsonby Smythe-Smallpiece

It’s rude to ask or disclose a lady’s age.

Bad form, LC.

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Anonymous

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Anonymous

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Anonymous

A gentleman always remembers a lady’s birthday, but never her age.

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Anonymous

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Barrel Scraping

Happy birthday and all that, but does anyone give a sh*t?

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Anonymous

How very demeaning!

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Anonymous

Katie can you please report on Lady Hale’s choice of tea brands?

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Anonymous

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Anonymous

It’s Carnwath nor Carnwarth

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Frustrated Writer

Lady Hale peered over her glasses suspiciously at the large box that had been deposited on the floor of her well appointed office. It had taken two of the Supreme Court’s porters to lug it in, one pushing the large post trolley, and the other dragging from the other side. One of the men, well into his 60s, had to take a seat to catch his breath after levering it to the floor.

Lady Hale had received many gifts and well wishes this birthday, from leading figures across the legal, commercial and political spectrum. The small assortment of cards on her desk however was dwarfed by the wooden crate. She knew it wasn’t from her husband; he was long past romantic gestures. She arose from her desk and put an ear to it, tentatively, both excited and nervous to find out its contents before opening it. She knew there was a metal detector at the court, but was concerned that deliveries she did not want had gotten through in the past, all too easily.

Pushing aside her doubts, Lady Hale gently lifted the box lid. As she did so, she nearly fell over with shock, as a figure sprung out of the top like a jack in the box. It was a young woman, dressed up to the nines in an off the shoulder sequinned dress, face covered in poorly applied makeup and for all the world looking like Marilyn Monroe. As Lady Hale began to gather herself, the woman began to sing happy birthday in a monotone voice that would crack glass. As she reached her crescendo, Lady Hale began to recognise the stranger through her thick make up.

“Happy birthday, Mrs President, Happy birthday, to you..!”

Lady Hale plonked herself on the edge of her desk, and began groping for her phone behind her, her gaze trained on the unwanted visitor, lest she attack unexpectedly. “Katie, you have to go” she stammered, desperately trying to remember the number for security. “You can’t do this”.

Katie looked downhearted, but reached down into the box, her hand emerging clutching a small box wrapped in purple tissue paper. “But, Beyoncé, I’ve got you a gift!” she looked at Lady Hale expectantly, holding the gift out. “It’s a brooch” she added, excitedly.

Lady Hale did not respond, instead grabbing the phone receiver. She dialled quickly. When the recipient answered, her tone was urgent and a little panicked. “Helen, get me security. Now. Yes. It’s her again. No, not Beyoncé this time. Something a bit different. Just hurry!”. She slammed the phone down, not sure what to do next. Katie was still holding out the box.

Lady Hale debated taking the gift, but decided against it. Last time she had taken a gift from Katie, she had found something very unsavoury inside, and very definitely home made. She shuddered at the thought of it.

Luckily, the judge was saved from the decision as at that moment two burly, balding men straight out of the ex-forces security operator mould appeared. Seeing the scene before them, one openly had to suppress a laugh. He had not been on this job long, but had heard about Katie’s antics. Secretly he had hoped to come across her so he had a story to add to those of his colleagues.

“Get her out. Now!” Lady Hale ordered. The men grabbed Katie by the arms, and began dragging her out. As they did so, she flopped like a rag doll, her stilettos dragging across the thick carpet.

As Lady Hale crossed the room to close the door, shaking her head in irritation, she heard a distant voice from the corridor. “I love you Beyoncé..!” She shuddered. She had no idea why this journalist took such an unhealthy interest in her. She slammed the door and returned to work.

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Fact check

Lady Hale actually studied at Cambridge…

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Anonymous

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Anonymous

Horrible troll. You need help.

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Anonymous

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