Lady Hale uses lockdown to write her memoirs

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By CJ McKinney on

The former Supreme Court president has secured a two-book deal

Supreme Court Lady Hale
Lady Hale

So Lady Hale is smashing this whole self-isolation thing.

While the rest of us are binge-watching Tiger King, the recently retired Supreme Court president is using lockdown productively — by writing her memoirs.

The Bodley Head publishing house announced yesterday that Lady Hale’s autobiography will be coming out in 2021.

Describing the forthcoming book, Lady Hale said: “Mine is not a rags to riches story — either at the beginning or at the end — but it is the story of how a little girl from a little school in a little village in North Yorkshire became the most senior judge in the United Kingdom — when all the previous holders had been men from public school backgrounds with stellar careers as barristers. It is the story of how she found that she could cope. And it shows how other women and people from similarly small beginnings, without any connections or obvious advantages in the law, will find that they can cope too.”

Her deal with the Bodley Head is for two books: the memoir, plus “an exploration of the importance of the law… illustrated using key judgments”. Perhaps the publishers had to agree to the worthy tome as the price of getting the memoir.

Stuart Williams, publishing director at the Bodley Head, said: “I expect her books to be direct, warm, arresting and candid, and to introduce readers to a great mind and a great campaigner”.

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He added that “her historic and dramatic role in determining that Parliament had not been prorogued gave her an even greater national prominence”.

Hale shot to stardom after delivering the court’s unanimous 2019 judgment that the government had unlawfully prorogued (suspended) parliament at a pivotal time for Brexit.

That single case may well define Hale’s legacy outside the legal world: the Guardian described her yesterday as the “no-prorogation justice”.

She is not the first former Supreme to write her memoirs: Lord Hope’s diaries were pretty controversial, while Lord Dyson used his autobiography to take aim at the “disastrous” former Justice Secretary, Liz Truss.

But both those tie-ups were with specialist legal publishers. The Bodley Head is a non-fiction arm of publishing giant Penguin Random House and says that “our books come from some of the leading writers and thinkers of our time”.

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