Brenda Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond

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The Baroness Hale of Richmond

Baroness Brenda Hale.jpg
President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Assumed office
5 September 2017
Monarch Elizabeth II
Deputy Lord Mance
Lord Reed
Preceded by Lord Neuberger
Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
In office
28 June 2013 – 4 September 2017
President Lord Neuberger
Preceded by Lord Hope
Succeeded by Lord Mance
Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Assumed office
1 October 2009
Preceded by Position created
Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
In office
12 January 2004 – 30 September 2009
Preceded by Lord Millett
Succeeded by Position eliminated
Lady Justice of Appeal
In office
High Court Judge
Family Division
In office
Appointed by Elizabeth II
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal (Judicial Peer)
In office
12 January 2004 – 1 October 2009
7th Chancellor of the University of Bristol
In office
Preceded by Sir Jeremy Morse
Succeeded by Sir Paul Nurse
Non-Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong
Assumed office
Personal details
Brenda Marjorie Hale

(1945-01-31) 31 January 1945 (age 74)
Yorkshire, England
  • Anthony Hoggett
    (m. 1968; div. 1992)
  • Julian Farrand
    (m. 1992)
Children 1
Alma mater Girton College, Cambridge

Brenda Marjorie Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond, DBE, PC, QC, known as Lady Hale (born 31 January 1945),[1] is a British judge and the current President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

In 2004, she joined the House of Lords as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary. She is the only woman to have been appointed to this position. She served as a Law Lord until 2009 when she, along with the other Law Lords, transferred to the new Supreme Court. She served as Deputy President of the Supreme Court from 2013 to 2017.

On 5 September 2017, Hale was appointed as President of the Supreme Court, and was sworn in on 2 October 2017. She is the third person and first woman to serve the role, which was established in 2009. Hale is one of three women to have been appointed to the Supreme Court (alongside Lady Black and Lady Arden).

Since 30 July 2018, Hale has been a non-permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong. Alongside Beverley McLachlin, she is the first woman to serve in that court.

Hale is Honorary President of the Cambridge University Law Society.[2]

Early life

Born in Leeds, England in 1945,[3] Baroness Hale is the second of three sisters. Both her parents became headteachers. She was educated in Richmond in North Yorkshire at the Richmond High School for Girls (now part of Richmond School), and later studied at Girton College, Cambridge, where she read law and graduated with a starred first and top of her class. After becoming assistant lecturer in Law at the University of Manchester, she was called to the Bar by Gray's Inn in 1969, topping the list in the bar finals for that year.

Working part-time as a barrister, Hale spent 18 years mostly in academia, becoming Professor of Law at Manchester in 1986. Two years earlier, she became the first woman and youngest person to be appointed to the Law Commission, overseeing a number of important reforms[citation needed] in family law during her nine years with the Commission. In 1989, she was appointed Queen's Counsel.

Judicial career

Lady Hale was appointed a Recorder (a part-time circuit judge) in 1989, and in 1994 became a judge in the Family Division of the High Court of Justice (styled The Honourable Mrs Justice Hale). Upon her appointment, as is convention, she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE). In 1999, Hale followed Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss to become only the second woman to be appointed to the Court of Appeal (styled The Right Honourable Lady Justice Hale), entering the Privy Council at the same time.

On 12 January 2004, she was appointed the first female Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and was created a life peer as Baroness Hale of Richmond, of Easby in the County of North Yorkshire,[4] under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876.

In June 2013, she was appointed Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom to succeed Lord Hope of Craighead.

In September 2017, she was appointed President of the Supreme Court to succeed Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury.[5]

On 21 March 2018, the Hong Kong judiciary announced her nomination as a non-permanent judge from other common law jurisdictions of the Court of Final Appeal. Her appointment was accompanied by the appointments of Andrew Cheung and Beverley McLachlin.[6] The appointment was gazetted by the Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam and took effect 30 July 2018 for a three-year term.[7]

In December 2018, during an interview to mark the centenary of a 1919 act that dismantled barriers which prevented women from entering the professions, Hale argued that the judiciary needed to become more diverse so that the public have greater confidence in judges. Hale called for a more balanced gender representation on the UK's highest court and swifter progress promoting those from minority ethnic backgrounds and with “less privileged lives”. However, Hale objected to the idea of positive discrimination because “no one wants to feel they have got the job in any way other than on their own merits”.[8]

Personal life

In 1968, Hale married Anthony Hoggett, a fellow law lecturer at Manchester, with whom she had one daughter. The marriage was dissolved in 1992, in which year she married Julian Farrand, former Professor of Law at Manchester, Pensions Ombudsman and colleague of Hale's on the Law Commission.

In April 2018, Hale featured as a celebrity judge on BBC cooking show MasterChef.[9]


Hale was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Salford, where the main Law building is named after her. In 2007, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Reading.

In 2006, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws (LLD) by the University of Hull.

In 2011, Hale was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Kent.

On 10 September 2015, she delivered the Caldwell Public Lecture at the University of Melbourne, Australia, on the topic "Protecting Human Rights in the UK Courts: What are we doing wrong?".[10]

On 2 November 2018, she delivered an SLS Centenary Lecture at the University of Essex, United Kingdom, on the topic of "All Human Beings? Reflection on the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights"

In 2016 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by the University of Worcester, and gave the annual Worcester Lecture by the joint invitation of Worcester Cathedral Dean and Chapter and the University of Worcester on 21 February 2019 entitled 'Moral Courage in the Law'.[11]

In 2019, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws (LLD) by Edge Hill University.


Coat of arms of Brenda Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond
Hale of Richmond Lozenge.png
Upon joining the House of Lords, Hale decided to apply for a personal coat of arms.[12]
16 June 2004[13]
That of a Baroness
Omnia Feminae Aequissimae
(lit. Women are equal to everything)
The crowned frog supporters represent the frog prince, which refers to her husband and her large collection of ceramic frogs. (“It’s an inside joke between us. My husband was my frog prince. Now people give us frogs.”)[14] The castles on her arms represent Richmond, while the scrolls symbolise the law.[12]

Selected cases


  1. ^ Senior Judiciary List Archived 18 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Ministry of Justice.
  2. ^ "CULS Lecture: Lady Hale - 'The Life of A Lady Law Lord'". Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge. 3 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  4. ^ "No. 57179". The London Gazette. 15 January 2004. p. 503.
  5. ^ "No. 62054". The London Gazette. 19 September 2017. p. 17466.
  6. ^ "Top court gets new judges". The Standard. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  7. ^ Hong Kong Gazette Notice GN5815/2018
  8. ^ correspondent, Owen Bowcott Legal affairs (1 January 2019). "White and male UK judiciary 'from another planet', says Lady Hale". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  9. ^ Editor, Frances Gibb, Legal (30 April 2018). "Baroness Hale to lay down the law on MasterChef". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  10. ^ "Caldwell Public Lecture", Trinity College Events [online], accessed, 25 August 2015.
  11. ^ "President of Supreme Court to Consider Moral Courage in the Law in Worcester Lecture", University of Worcester website, access 17 September 2019
  12. ^ a b "Taking tea in Wonderland". Financial Times (subscription required). 12 August 2011.
  13. ^ "November 2004 Newsletter (No. 3)". College of Arms.
  14. ^ Amos, Mike (25 April 2018). "Mike Amos: Judge not lest thou be judged, but the column's still much impressed by Lady Hale". The Northern Echo.

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
The Lord Millett
Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
New office Justice of the Supreme Court
Succeeded by
Lord Hodge
Preceded by
The Lord Hope of Craighead
Deputy President of the Supreme Court
Succeeded by
The Lord Mance
Preceded by
The Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury
President of the Supreme Court
Academic offices
Preceded by
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
Visitor of Girton College, Cambridge
Preceded by
Sir Jeremy Morse
Chancellor of the University of Bristol
Succeeded by
Sir Paul Nurse
Order of precedence in England and Wales
Preceded by
Princess Alexandra, The Hon. Lady Ogilvy
as President of the Supreme Court
Succeeded by
The Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
as Lord Privy Seal
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