Ex-Girtonian appointed President of the Supreme Court

The first woman to hold the post

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A Cambridge Alumna and former Girton Student, Baroness Hale of Richmond, has been appointed the President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, the most senior jurist in the land.

Baroness Hale, who was at Girton between 1963 and 1966, replaces Lord Neuberger who steps down as the President of Britain’s highest appeal court this year. She will be the first woman to hold the position. Hale is currently the Deputy President of the Supreme Court.

While at Girton, Hale topped the Law Tripos, graduating with a starred first. She was made an Honorary Fellow by the college in 1995, subsequently being elected to the position of Visitor in 2004.

Breaking boundaries in a traditionally male preserve

Her first at Cambridge would be the first in a long line of firsts that Baroness Hale would achieve in her distinguished career. Hale was the first woman to be appointed the the Law Commission (in 1984), the first woman to be made a Lord Justice of Appeal (in 1999) and the first woman to serve as both a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and subsequently a Justice of the Supreme Court.

Also the first family lawyer to sit on the Supreme Court bench, Hale is widely regarded as changing the face of family law, instrumental in the Children Act legislation of 1989.

Baroness Hale graduated from Girton with the only starred first in her year

Commenting on  the announcement, Girton Law Society President Ella Vacani stated: “We are delighted to hear of Baroness Hale’s well-deserved appointment to the Presidency of the Supreme Court. Ask any law student and they will tell you of her insightful judgements, and recognise her to be one of the premier legal minds of the modern era. She sets an example to us all: a self-proclaimed feminist, an advocate of diversity, and a truly inspirational judge. ”

The announcement of Baroness Hale’s appointment also comes with the appointment of three new justices, Lady Justice Black, Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Lord Justice Briggs. Lloyd Jones was read Law at Downing, and was later a teaching fellow at the college between 1975 and 1991.