Lady Hale has emerged as the Madonna of British Democracy

The president of the Supreme Court made a landmark decision on Tuesday, declaring the suspension of parliament by Boris Johnson illegal.

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Brenda Hale, September 24th. – / AFP

Her name is Brenda Hale, more formally known as Lady Hale, and on Tuesday, September 24th, this 74-year-old woman, little known to the general public, has emerged as the Madonna of British Democracy. The President of the Supreme Court made a landmark decision, declaring the suspension of Parliament by Boris Johnson illegal.

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The huge spider pin that the magistrate wore on the chest immediately became viral. Mid-September, she had successively sported a shimmering dragonfly and a butterfly finely crafted, during the three long days of hearing complainants. Beyond a certain penchant for fantasy, it is especially the calm and authority emanating from the country's first magistrate who had to hit those who discovered Lady Hale live in recent days on the website of the Supreme Court. Bob squared, soft voice, she expressed herself with clarity, pedagogy, using words surprisingly simple, including when pronouncing the decision Tuesday.

She multiplied the "first"

A native of Leeds in the north of England, Lady Hale did not follow the classical route of the great magistrates of the United Kingdom, mostly through the highly elitist private schools. Daughter of school principals, she knew the public school benches, before landing a place at Cambridge University, the first of her high school in this case. "I did law because my headmaster said I was too bad for history," she says often in interview.

She then spent nearly 20 years teaching law at the University of Manchester, before, from the 1990s, to multiply the "firsts". Family law specialist, she is the first woman appointed to the Law Commission of England and Wales, the first woman appointed Lord Judge, in 2004, the first woman to become Vice-President of the Court. 2013, and in September 2017, the first woman to be appointed head of the institution. She will retire in early 2020, reached by the age limit of 75 years.

Always discreet, Lady Hale regularly pleaded the cause of women, and lamented the sexism prevailing in the judiciary. When she entered the House of Lords in 2004, she chose the following motto to accompany her crest: "Women are equal to all" ("Omnia Feminae Aequissimae").


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