LADY Hale has delivered a historic judgment which found Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament broke the law.
But there’s plenty more to know about the equality-fighting trailblazer who has proved a pioneer for women in the courtroom. Here’s what we know about the Baroness – and her glittering spider brooch.
Who is Lady Hale?
Lady Hale is the Supreme Court’s first female president since its creation ten years ago.
Born Brenda Majorie Hale in Leeds in 1945, the legal trailblazer has a reputation for her radical interpretation of the law.
She grew up in Richmond, Yorkshire, one of three daughters of headteachers.
Academically-minded from the start, she was the first in her state school to get in to Cambridge University, graduating top of her law class in 1966.
After first pursuing an academic career first, she took the bar in 1984. In the same year she was the first woman to be appointed to the Law Commission, a body promoting reform of the law.
In that role she reformed laws relating to children, domestic violence and mental capacity.
Her work Women and the Law, also published in 1984, was the first comprehensive survey of women’s rights at work and within the family.
She became the UK’s first ever woman Law Lord in 2003. When the Supreme Court was created, the was the only Justice on a panel of 12 judges.
When the Supreme Court was created in 2009, she was the only woman Justice on the panel of 12 judges.
Baroness Hale was appointed its first female president in 2017.
Hale, currently 73, plans to retire in early 2020.
Due to security reasons, she cannot disclose where she lives.
She lives with her second husband, Julian Farrand, who she met on the Law Commission. His daughter lives next door, and Hale also has a daughter from her first marriage.
What was her Supreme Court ruling?
Lady Hale delivered the Supreme Court’s verdict on September 24, 2019, declaring Johnson’s prorogation “unlawful, void and of no effect”.
In an unanimous vote from all 11 judges, Lady Hale wrote: “The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification.”
She added: “This prolonged suspension of Parliamentary democracy took place in quite exceptional circumstances: the fundamental change which was due to take place in the Constitution of the United Kingdom on 31st October.
“Parliament, and in particular the House of Commons as the elected representatives of the people, has a right to a voice in how that change comes about. The effect upon the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme.”
Has her spider brooch went viral?
It’s not only Lady Hale’s legal panache that has got the internet talking.
Her elegant spider brooch, worn as she delivered her verdict is by no means the only one in her collection.
The jewel-encrusted brooch joins others she has worn, including a sparkly caterpillar and a diamond butterfly.
While some took the interpretation of her attire further.
Posting a picture of Lady Hale with a brooch, writer and historian Anne Lousie Avery commented: “Lady Hale demonstrating the potential for vast novelistic sub-narratives offered by a correctly chosen brooch. What a tangled web we weave, indeed.”
While another Twitter user joked: “Can we not lose sight of what’s important here: what an absolute brooch icon Lady Hale is”.
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