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Family lawyers rule over Supreme Court

Date:21 JUL 2017
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Lady Hale is to be the next president of the Supreme Court, the prime minister’s office has confirmed.

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Family law specialist Brenda Hale was called to the Bar in 1969, teaching law at Manchester University until 1984 and later practising as a barrister in Manchester. She replaces Lord Neuberger, who is retiring, in October. She is the first woman to hold the premier position in the judiciary, an achievement that tops a career of firsts—she was also the first woman to become a Lady Justice of Appeal and the first female justice at the Supreme Court.

Lady Hale will no longer be the sole female justice at the Supreme Court as another family law specialist, Lady Justice Black, will also be appointed to the court on 2 October.

Jill Black attended Penrhos College in North Wales before studying at Durham University. For a period in the 1980s she taught law at Leeds Polytechnic. She was a founding author of The Family Court Practice, the definitive guide to family law practice in England and Wales, and continues to serve as a consulting editor. Jill was appointed a Lady Justice of Appeal in 2010. She is currently the Head of International Family Justice.

Chair of the Bar Andrew Langdon QC said: 

'It is well known that Baroness Hale is a most distinguished jurist and has long been at the forefront in the task of arguing for a properly diverse judiciary.

Her appointment will serve as an encouragement to all in showing how important this is.'

Law Society president Joe Egan commented: 

'I am delighted to congratulate Lady Hale on her appointment as president of the Supreme Court. Not only does she have an outstanding legal mind, she has also campaigned for greater judicial diversity tirelessly and with good humour for many years.

We need judges who have demonstrated legal excellence throughout their careers, just as we also - crucially - need judges from diverse backgrounds to oversee some of the most important and significant cases that shape our laws.

There are still far fewer women than men in the judiciary, but - thanks in large part to role models like Lady Hale - the number is growing steadily.

With Lady Hale as their inspiration, I hope more women - and others from diverse backgrounds - will feel that the legal profession is one in which they can realise their ambitions.'