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“Don’t think it will be easy, but believe it’s possible” – Edge Hill hosts inspirational Lady Hale event   

March 8, 2024

Lady Hale – the first and only female president of the Supreme Court – delivered an inspirational Q&A at Edge Hill University as part of celebrations for International Women’s Day.

Baroness Brenda Hale, an Honorary Doctor of Law at Edge Hill, was a trailblazer for women in the legal profession, becoming the youngest person and first woman to be appointed to the Law Commission.  

She became the first female Law Lord, the first female Supreme Court justice and then the most senior judge in the UK in 2017.

Speaking to a packed audience, Lady Hale was asked how she set about achieving her goals and how she managed to juggle being a mother and a legal pioneer.

She replied: “You have to go for what suits you and what you enjoy and don’t think it will be easy but believe it’s always going to be possible.”

Lady Hale, who sits in the House of Lords, also detailed her upbringing in Richmond, Yorkshire, her education at Cambridge University, where she achieved the only starred first in her year, and her early career.

And she also told of the moment that brought her to global attention in 2019 when she ruled that then Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament was unlawful.

She told the audience: “There are times when the court’s duty is to tell the government that it has done something which it doesn’t have power to do. And if the courts lose that power, well, then the rest is tyranny, I think.”

The hour-long event – part of Edge Hill’s celebrations of the 90th year on the Ormskirk campus – included questions from a captivated audience.

When asked about the importance of studying human rights, Lady Hale replied: “Human rights are based on the principle that each person, each human being, has inherent dignity and value equal to that of anybody else. And of course, there are many forces in the world that are wanting to deny the principle of equal dignity.  

“I find it very upsetting when I hear politicians being reticent about [human rights], not standing up for it. So, carry on standing up for human rights.”   

Lynda Brady Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) said: “Edge Hill’s history is deeply entwined with an ethos of educating and empowering women, something we have been doing for more than 130 years.  

“This was a truly inspirational talk from our Honorary Doctor Lady Hale and that was evident from the reactions from students and staff alike. So many wanted to meet her in person afterwards and we are so grateful to have had the opportunity to host such an influential figure here.”   

March 8, 2024


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