It has been announced today that Baroness Hale of Richmond, a former academic lawyer and Law Commissioner before joining the High Court bench, has been appointed to take over from Lord Neuberger as President of the Supreme Court as from 2nd October 2017.
Although the President of the UK-wide Supreme Court is in charge of the most senior appellate court the Lord Chief Justice of England & Wales is the highest paid and regarded as the most senior judicial appointment in England & Wales, being the head of all the courts and tribunals judiciary.
With its first female Supreme Court President the UK will soon join fellow common law jurisdictions Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland in having a woman currently in charge of its highest appellate court.
No longer will Baroness Hale be the sole female Justice of the Supreme Court, as Lady Justice Black (along with Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Lord Justice Briggs) has been named as one of three new Justices to join the court.
This year Baroness Hale is also the Treasurer (most senior Bencher) of Gray’s Inn. The Vice-Treasurer, Sir David Foskett, has said:
“Not merely is this appointment the pinnacle of an illustrious career for the Treasurer, but it marks the first appointment of a woman to this important position in the judicial structure. The Inn has been proud to have had the late Lord Bingham of Cornhill as Senior Law Lord before the Supreme Court was created and Lord Hope of Craighead as Master Hale’s predecessor as Deputy President. It can also boast a large number of past and present women members of the judiciary and within the senior ranks of the Bar, but this appointment constitutes a particularly important recognition of the role that women play within the judiciary and the legal profession. It should also be an inspiration for others who aspire to serve the cause of justice not to believe that there is a ‘glass ceiling’ that would prevent realisation of that aspiration.”
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