Judge Lady Hale speaks about going head-to-head with government during enthusing University speech

TRAILBLAZING judge Lady Hale has spoken about coming into conflict with the UK government over its prorogation of parliament in a talk at the University of Chichester.

The speech by the Baroness Hale of Richmond DBE, who was visiting Chichester to meet its LLB Law degree students, was the first since she retired from the Supreme Court.

Lady Hale also revealed that the two Miller cases – the landmark constitutional law cases on the limits of the royal prerogative power to prorogue Parliament – were among the most interesting and challenging of her 40-year legal career.

Speaking to an audience of more than 250 people, including pupils studying law at nearby schools, she said of the cases: “I did not think the judgement would go all around the world with its level of interest. The ruling had been done carefully but very quickly: we had finished the session on Thursday and published the report on Tuesday.”

Lady Hale has had an extensive career at the forefront of UK judiciary, as the first female Law Lord and the first and only female President of the Supreme Court.

After a varied career as an academic lawyer, law reformer and judge, including teaching at Manchester University for 18 years, she was appointed to the High Court in 1994, promoted to the Court of Appeal of England and Wales in 1999 and to the House of Lords in 2004.

She was appointed to President of the Supreme Court in 2017, where she has presided over some of the biggest stories in recent British legal history, including judgments around triggering Article 50, to kickstart Brexit, and more recently the effort to prorogue Parliament, which was deemed unlawful.

Reflecting on how the sector had changed since she was a young student herself, Lady Hale said: “If anything it’s harder now.”

The Baroness also spoke about future plans to live-stream open court hearings – to which she favoured – and gave advice to budding law students. “The more you do, the more you enjoy it,” she said. “Decide on how much work you want to do each day and each week, and then stick to it. Discipline is extremely important as a lawyer.”

Senior lecturer Dr Amy Elkington (pictured above with Lady Hale) leads the University of Chichester’s LLB (Hons) Law degree.

She said: “It’s an incredible privilege to welcome Lady Hale. She’s a trailblazer for women – as demonstrated by her motto which, in Latin, translates as ‘women are equal to everything’ – and is an inspirational figure for aspiring lawyers who has campaigned tirelessly for diversity within the judiciary and equality in law.”

For more about the LLB (Hons) Law degree go to www.chi.ac.uk/humanities/undergraduate/llb-law.

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