Brenda Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond

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The Right Honourable
The Baroness Hale of Richmond
Baroness Brenda Hale.jpg
Baroness Hale in 2008
Deputy President of the
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Assumed office
28 June 2013
Preceded by The Lord Hope of Craighead
Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
In office
1 October 2009 – 27 June 2013
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Position created
Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
In office
12 January 2004 – 30 September 2009
Preceded by The Lord Millett
Succeeded by Position eliminated
Lord Justice of Appeal
In office
High Court Judge
Family Division
In office
Appointed by Elizabeth II
Personal details
Born Brenda Marjorie Hale
(1945-01-31) 31 January 1945 (age 70)
Yorkshire, England, UK
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Anthony Hoggett (divorced; 1 child)
Julian Farrand
Alma mater Girton College, Cambridge
Occupation Barrister and jurist
Profession Barrister

Brenda Marjorie Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond, DBE, QC, PC, FBA (Hon) (born 31 January 1945)[1] is a British barrister, jurist and judge, who is the current Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

In 2004, she joined the House of Lords as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary. She is the only woman ever to have been appointed to this position. She served as a Law Lord until 2009 when she, along with the other Law Lords, transferred to the new Supreme Court. She remains the most senior female judge in the history of the United Kingdom. In February 2013 she was assessed as the 4th most powerful woman in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[2]

Early life[edit]

Hale was born in Yorkshire in 1945, one of three daughters. Both of her parents became headteachers. She was educated in Richmond at the Richmond High School for Girls (now part of Richmond School) and later studied at Girton College, Cambridge, where she read Law and graduated with a starred first and top of her class. After becoming assistant lecturer in Law at the University of Manchester, she was called to the Bar by Gray's Inn in 1969, topping the list in the bar finals for that year.

Working part-time as a barrister, Hale spent eighteen years mostly in academia, finally becoming Professor of Law at Manchester in 1986. Two years earlier, she had achieved the distinction of becoming the first woman and youngest person ever to be appointed to the Law Commission, overseeing a number of important reforms in family law during her nine years with the Commission. In 1989, she was made a Queen's Counsel.

Judicial career[edit]

Hale was appointed a Recorder (a part-time circuit judge) in 1989, and in 1994 became a judge in the Family Division of the High Court of Justice (styled The Honourable Mrs Justice Hale). Upon her appointment, as is convention, she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE). In 1999, Hale followed Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss to become only the second woman to be appointed to the Court of Appeal (styled The Right Honourable Lady Justice Hale), entering the Privy Council at the same time.

On 12 January 2004, she was appointed the first female Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and was created a life peer as Baroness Hale of Richmond, of Easby in the County of North Yorkshire,[3] under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876.

In June 2013 she was appointed Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom to succeed Lord Hope of Craighead.

Personal life[edit]

In 1968, Hale married Anthony Hoggett, a fellow law lecturer at Manchester, with whom she had one daughter. The marriage was dissolved in 1992, in which year she married Julian Farrand, former Professor of Law at Manchester, Pensions Ombudsman and colleague of Hale's on the Law Commission.


Hale is Chancellor of the University of Bristol and Visitor of Girton College, Cambridge, to which positions she was appointed in 2004. She is a member of the Athenaeum Club, London. Lady Hale was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Salford. Salford law school building is also named after her. In 2008, Lady Hale was awarded an Honorary doctorate LLD from the University of Reading. A picture of her receiving her LLD is on display in Foxhill House.

In 2011 Lady Hale was awarded an Honorary doctorate LL.D. from the University of Glasgow.

In 2013, she was named as the fourth most powerful woman in the UK in the BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour 100 Power List[4]

On 10 September 2015, she gave the Caldwell Public Lecture at the University of Melbourne, Australia, on the topic "Protecting Human Rights in the UK Courts: What are we doing wrong?". The lecturer is appointed by Trinity College (University of Melbourne) every five years in the areas of art, law or literature, under provisions in the bequest of Colin Caldwell (1913–1989), a Trinity College alumnus.[5]

Selected cases[edit]


  1. ^ Senior Judiciary List, Ministry of Justice.
  2. ^ BBC Radio 4, Woman's Hour Power list
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 57179. p. 503. 15 January 2004.
  4. ^ "The Power List 2013". BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour. 
  5. ^ "Caldwell Public Lecture", Trinity College Events [online], accessed, 25 Aug. 2015.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
The Lord Millett
Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
New creation Justice of the Supreme Court
2009 – 2013
Preceded by
The Lord Hope of Craighead
Deputy President of the Supreme Court
2013 – present
Academic offices
Preceded by
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
Visitor of Girton College, Cambridge
2004 – present
Preceded by
Sir Jeremy Morse
Chancellor of the University of Bristol
2004 – present