International Judicial Monitor
Published by the International Judicial Academy, Washington, D.C., with assistance from the
American Society of International Law

Summer 2013 Issue

Justice In Profile


Lady Justice Brenda Hale
Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

Brenda HaleBy: Carolyn A. Dubay, Associate Editor, International Judicial Monitof

Brenda Hale, whose full title is Lady Hale, Justice of The Supreme Court, The Right Honorable the Baroness Hale of Richmond, was appointed Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in June 2013.  In her nine years on the Supreme Court, she has seen substantial change in the United Kingdom’s highest court of appeal.  Indeed, when Lady Hale was appointed in January 2004, the court was still referred to by its former title, the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords.  As an appointee to the Appellate Committee, Justice Hale was then referred to as a Law Lord.  With the structural changes implemented in October 2009 under the United Kingdom’s broader constitutional reform effort, the name of the Appellate Committee changed to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.  At that time, its members became the first Justices of the Supreme Court.  Because of this structural change, Lady Hale was not only the United Kingdom’s first woman Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, but in October 2009, she became the first woman Justice of the Supreme Court.




Lady Hale’s legal career began in academia at Manchester University after graduating from Cambridge in 1966.  As an academic, Lady Hale specialized in family law, and was the founding editor of the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law.  She also authored a leading case book on family law.  Following her academic career at Manchester, Lady Hale became the first woman to be appointed to the United Kingdom’s Law Commission in 1984, and was instrumental in the drafting of reform laws in the area of children’s rights, family law, and mental health law. 

Lady Hale’s judicial career began in 1994 when she became a judge in the Family Division of the High Court. As another first in her impressive historical milestones, she was the first High Court judge to have come from an academic and public service career rather than practice.  In 1999, Lady Hale was promoted to the Court of Appeal and Privy Council.

In addition to her work on the Supreme Court, Lady Hale also serves as Chancellor of the University of Bristol, Visitor of Girton College, Cambridge, and Visiting Professor of Kings College London.  She has also been actively involved in promoting the presence of women on bench, domestically and internationally. She is President of the UK Association of Women Judges and Past President of the International Association of Women Judges. 

Brenda Hale was born in Yorkshire on January 31, 1945.  She studied law at Girton College, Cambridge, where she earned academic honors. 

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© 2013 – The International Judicial Academy
with assistance from the American Society of International Law.

Editor: James G. Apple.
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