Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 15 October 2019

Lady Hale, the 'rock star' UK Supreme Court judge

The UK's highest court on Tuesday ruled the suspension of parliament unlawful

President of the Supreme Court Brenda Hale reading the court's judgement. Supreme Court/ AFP 
President of the Supreme Court Brenda Hale reading the court's judgement. Supreme Court/ AFP 

On Tuesday, the UK Supreme Court dealt a devastating blow to the government as it ruled Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend – or prorogue – parliament was unlawful.

The court was an arbitrator in the most divisive UK political issue for decades. Its ruling was never going to be without controversy as hardcore Brexiteers saw the latest legislative effort to stop the UK leaving the European Union with or without a deal succeed.

At the centre of it all was Lady Hale, the judge who read out the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision, who quickly became a viral sensation. In a clear statement, largely devoid of archaic and hard to understand legal terms, Lady Hale delivered a withering take on the government decision to suspend parliament.

"The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification,” Lady Hale said to the delight of those against a no-deal Brexit.

“The longer that Parliament stands prorogued, the greater the risk that responsible government may be replaced by unaccountable government,” she said.

While the court’s ruling on Tuesday once again exposed the – almost unbridgeable – rifts in UK politics, it also saw Lady Hale become an online sensation.

Lady Hale is the fire ever female president of the Supreme Court, taking the role in October 2017.

The 74-year-old also went to a state school in Yorkshire – not the typical first steps of a judge in the UK’s highest court, where most are often men and privately educated.

She joined the House of Lords in 2004 having gradually worked in increasingly senior judicial roles. Lady Hale also previously taught law at the Unversity of Manchester.

A newspaper in Belgium called her a “Rockstar” and compared Lady Hale to Beyoncé, arguably the world’s most famous female pop star, who has repeatedly sung about empowering women.

Social media users were quick to point to the spider brooch she wore whilst delivering the verdict – not the first piece of jewellery she’d worn that attracted attention.

Updated: September 25, 2019 01:43 PM

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