In October 2017, Brenda Hale became the first woman President of the UK Supreme Court. Her appointment follows other ground-breaking appointments including as Deputy President, as the first woman appointed to the new established Supreme Court and as the first – and only – woman law lord, following her elevation to the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords. Without doubt, Hale is – both currently and historically – the UK’s most senior woman judge. Feminist academic, law reformer, judge, she has played a key role in improving the position of many women, children and men.
Of course, the appointment of the first woman to the UK’s most senior court – ending over 600 years of male exclusivity – was always going to attract attention. As was the appointment of the first woman President on the UK Supreme Court, And rightly so. Both are key strategic milestones in the glacial progress toward a diverse judiciary. For over a decade, Hale’s solitary presence acted as a beacon exposing the continued isolation of woman within the judiciary and public life more generally.
The full version of this landmark is written by Erika Rackley.
Erika Rackley, ‘Lady Hale’ (Dangerous Woman Project, 27 February 2017) http://dangerouswomenproject.org/2017/02/27/lady-hale/
The Guardian News and Media Ltd., ‘Celebrate Lady Hale – Then Make the Judiciary More Diverse’ https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/23/lady-hale-senior-judiciary-more-diverse-supreme-court
The Guardian News and Media Ltd., ‘Thank You, Lady Hale, For Shifting the Supreme Court’s View on Marriage’ https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/08/supreme-court-marriage-unmarried-parents-britain
Rosemary Hunter, ‘A Conversation with Baroness Hale’ Feminist Legal Studies (2008) (Kent Academic Repository) https://kar.kent.ac.uk/23864/1/Hale-Hunter_interview.pdf