Who is Lady Hale, the Yorkshire-born Supreme Court President who declared Boris Johnson's suspension of Parliament unlawful

Baroness Hale, pictured at her home in Richmond. Pic: James Hardisty
Baroness Hale, pictured at her home in Richmond. Pic: James Hardisty

The judge who delivered the Supreme Court's verdict today, Lady Hale, was appointed the first female president of the Supreme Court in 2017.


And the former academic lawyer, law reformer and judge was born and raised in Yorkshire, the details of which she discussed with The Yorkshire Post in an interview last year.

Lady Brenda Hale was born in Leeds towards the end of the Second World War and grew up in Richmond, North Yorkshire, one of three daughters of headteachers.

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Even from her days at the “tiny little” Richmond High School for Girls she was making a little local history, as the first girl to go to Cambridge University and the first to read law.

After qualifying as a barrister through a self-taught correspondence course while working at Manchester University, she chose to devote herself to academia.

But her work there was of such note, she says, it “brought me to the attention of the Lord Chancellor” and she was “tapped on the shoulder” to become a judge.

Even then she continued to smash glass ceilings until she was appointed Supreme Court president in February, which left her “delighted and proud”, but not at all fazed.

A long-standing champion of diversity in the judiciary, she became the first female justice of the court in October 2009, and was appointed deputy president in June 2013.

During her time as deputy president, Yorkshire-born Lady Hale ruled on numerous high-profile cases, including the Brexit appeal.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post last year, she said she recognised that widespread calls to take big institutions to the North can inspire a new generation and help close the divide with the South and London, which hosts almost all major UK institutions.

“I would dearly love us to sit in the North of England,” Lady Hale said.

“We have a lot of cases that come from the North so if we were to sit somewhere central in the North I would love to do that.

“But I doubt it will be practical when I’m around. I might start raising the idea.”

It would certainly make travelling to work easier for Lady Hale, who has stayed in Richmond for much of her life and speaks of how her beautiful Dales surroundings have played a major role in her career.

“I think there’s something in the air in North Yorkshire that makes one possibly want to...I certainly wanted to work hard and wanted to get on.

“School was very encouraging to me, I’m not sure that it was encouraging to everybody but it was very encouraging to me.

“Of course the good thing about the school was that Richmond is such a beautiful place that the teachers stayed, so we had this very stable group of mainly amazing ladies who were very good teachers and gave us a very good grounding.

“There’s something about growing up in a beautiful place, I think it’s good for the soul.”

Asked whether some good old Yorkshire grit has helped her reach heights few others manage, she replied: “I suppose so, I wouldn’t know about that, that’s for other people to say."

Baroness Hale is the first female President of the Supreme Court. Pic: James Hardisty

Baroness Hale is the first female President of the Supreme Court. Pic: James Hardisty