Hale expresses ‘regret’ over spider brooch

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Previously unreported comments surface in new Supreme Court book 🕷️

It is perhaps the most iconic brooch worn in recent times. Ex-Supreme Court president Lady Hale’s spider brooch, worn when delivering the September 2019 ruling that Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament was unlawful, reached mega-viral fame at the time; inspiring replicas worn by politicians and t-shirts bearing the same design.

Yet, in previously unreported comments that have surfaced in a new book, Hale expresses her regret over the fashion accessory.

“I do regret the focus on the brooch which I was wearing when delivering the summary in Miller v The Prime Minister,” said Hale in a lecture she delivered in December 2019 to mark the top court’s tenth anniversary. “Regular viewers [of the Supreme Court’s live-streamed proceedings] know that I often wear a brooch — usually a creature — to liven up our normally quite sober dress, but that it has no obvious connection to the matter in hand.”

Hale’s comments were not reported on at the time, according to legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg, but now appear in the foreword to the 800-page tenth volume of The UK Supreme Court Yearbook.

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Powerful women throughout history have been known to use fashion to convey a secret message or statement, like the time former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright wore a snake pin after the Iraqi media called her an “unparalleled serpent”.

“Unlike Madeleine Albright, I am not trying to send a message,” Hale continued. “There was no hidden message in the brooch I wore that day, but perhaps I should have foreseen that the public and the media would look for one.”

Last year Hale revealed the jewel-encrusted brooch cost about £12 from Cards Galore. “None of my brooches are worth very much; they are all costume jewellery,” she said.

Hale retired from the Supreme Court in January 2020. Her autobiography, which is cleverly named Spider Woman: A Life, is due to be released in October this year. It charts the personal story of self-professed ‘girly swot’ Hale and how she made it to the UK’s highest court.

Update: 11:22am

Hale’s lecture was published as part of a series by the Supreme Court in 2019. The full transcript of Hale’s lecture is available here.

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Joshua Rozenberg

I was wrong. The speech had been published at the time:

I couldn’t find it among the justices’ speeches and missed the link in the news archive.

Apologies. I updated the piece online a couple of hours ago.



“I do regret the focus on the brooch…”

Isn’t this quite a bit different from Lady Hale wishing she’d not worn the brooch?


Joshua Rozenberg

If that was all she had said, then yes. But I my headline was justified by this sentence:

There was no hidden message in the brooch I wore that day, but perhaps I should have foreseen that the public and the media would look for one.



Yes, different. She clearly doesn’t regret wearing the brooch.



Sorry Lady Hale take us all for fools if we are to believe that the head of the Supreme Court, who clearly relished her celebrity role leading the evening’s news with the delivery of her Judgment, was not aware of the significance that would be attached to her choice of attachment. I think an advocate pleading such a thing in front of her would receive short shrift.



Anybody else miss KK?



Shame the SC got the law wrong in Miller.



I thought the outcome was quite predictable and surely correct. I preferred the Outer House’s approach that basically found Boris was lying when he tried to stop our MPs representing us.


slow day

why is this news



Unfortunately, because there was no trigger warning I suffered an unfortunate involuntary encopresis episode when I saw the spider.

To whom should I address my PSLA claim?



Get in the sea, snowflake


Fool Finder General

The joke’s on you, Alan.

Clearly you don’t know the meaning of the word “encopresis”.



She doesn’t like the focus on the brooch…. yet calls her book Spiderwoman … right


Mr Moose

My good man, woman, person or thing,

I have a live hippo that I would wish to transport to my second home abroad.

Can you supply a suitable crate?

Yours faffably,


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