Baroness Hale to become first female UK Supreme Court President

Baroness Hale of Richmond is to become the first female president of the UK Supreme Court, reports say.

The Times makes the claim that the appointment will be confirmed by Downing Street today.

Lady Hale graduated from Cambridge University in 1966 and qualified as a barrister. She practised family and social welfare law at the Manchester Bar but her main career was as an academic. She taught law at Manchester University until 1984, when she became the first woman to be appointed to the Law Commission, the statutory body which promotes the reform of the law.

She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1989 and in 1994 she became a High Court judge. In 1999 she was the second woman to be promoted to the Court of Appeal, following Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, before becoming the first woman Law Lord.

In October 2009 she became the first woman Justice of the Supreme Court before being appointed its deputy president in June 2013.

She will replace current Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger, who is retiring.

Baroness Hale: in quotes

On legal aid cuts: “What is going on now is the opposite of what many of my generation had hoped for and expected.”It is not for the judiciary to tell government what to do… but it is entirely appropriate for the judiciary to point to the difficulties of some of the policies they espouse.”

On judicial diversity: “It’s just the eccentricities of men that are rubbing up against one another, and we need the eccentricities of rather more women as well. We should have a true diversity of minds at the highest level. There are still too many systemic barriers to recognising the merit that so many women have – a trickle up to the top is just not going to work.”

On human rights: “My Lords, there are far more important human rights in this world than the right to sell pornographic literature and images in the backstreets of Belfast City Centre.” Belfast City Council v Miss Behavin’ Limited ([2007] UKHL 19)

On the Human Rights Act: “It seems a shame that an Act, which appeared to be so clearly drafted and was trying to do such an important but radical thing, has given rise to so many difficult constitutional issues on which we have had to spend so much of our time. Maybe the previous mind-set of the practitioners and the courts is more to blame than Parliament and the Parliamentary draftsmen.”

On confidence: “I cannot imagine being so arrogant as to have no self doubt. The idea quite staggers me. When am I going to be found out, that’s been a perpetual thing at the back of one’s mind.”

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