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UK's most senior judge honoured by Northumbria University

9th July 2018

The UK’s most senior judge, The Right Honourable the Baroness Hale of Richmond, has received the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law from Northumbria University, Newcastle.

Lady Hale became the first woman to serve on the Law Commission, where the work of her team led to major legislation such as the Children Act 1989 and the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

In 1994 she was appointed a High Court Judge, was promoted to the Court of Appeal in 1999, and became a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in 2004. In 2009 she became one of the first Justices of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (UKSC), the highest court of appeal in the UK. She became Deputy President of the UKSC in 2013 and its President in 2017.

She helped to establish and has been President of the UK Association of Women Judges since its foundation in 2003 and was President of the International Association of Women Judges from 2010 to 2012.

Speaking about her honorary degree, Lady Hale said: “Northumbria is a University I have known for many years. My younger sister used to work in the English Department, so I became aware of the work going on then, and in recent years I have visited to give talks to students from Northumbria’s Law School. I have always been very impressed with the students I’ve met, they are very resourceful and a real credit to the University. It was lovely to be invited to receive this honorary degree from Northumbria and I was absolutely delighted to accept.”

Lady Hale was educated at the Richmond High School for Girls in North Yorkshire 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; one of the four professional associations for barristers and judges in London in 1969, topping the list in the bar finals for that year.

Working part-time as a barrister, Lady Hale spent 18 years at the University of Manchester, becoming Professor of Law in 1986. 

While at the University, she was joint founding editor of the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law. She is author and co-author of a number of books, including The Family, Law and Society: Cases and Materials (6th edition 2009) and Mental Health Law (6th edition, 2017).

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