Legal Service: Saturday 18 March (11.30am)
Judges, lawyers and representatives of the Criminal Justice System in Somerset join us at the Cathedral on Sunday 18th March (11.30am) for our annual Legal Service. Some seats are reserved but this service is very much open to the public, and all are welcome (please note that the Cathedral Eucharist will start at 9.30am today).
During the service the High Sheriff of the county is sworn in for the coming year and we celebrate the work of the courts and the legal system in our county. The speaker this year is Lady Hale, one of the most senior Judges in the UK.
Brenda Marjorie Hale, Lady Hale of Richmond took up appointment as President of The Supreme Court in September 2017, succeeding Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury. This following her appointment as Deputy President from June 2013. In October 2009 she became the first woman Justice of The Supreme Court.
In January 2004, Lady Hale became the United Kingdom’s first woman Lord of Appeal in Ordinary after a varied career as an academic lawyer, law reformer, and judge. After graduating from Cambridge in 1966, she taught law at Manchester University from 1966 to 1984, also qualifying as a barrister and practising for a while at the Manchester Bar. She specialised in Family and Social Welfare law, was founding editor of the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, and authored a pioneering case book on ‘The Family, Law and Society’.
In 1984 she was the first woman to be appointed to the Law Commission, a statutory body which promotes the reform of the law. Important legislation resulting from the work of her team at the Commission includes the Children Act 1989, the Family Law Act 1996, and the Mental Capacity Act 2005. She also began sitting as an assistant recorder.
In 1994 she became a High Court judge, the first to have made her career as an academic and public servant rather than a practising barrister. In 1999 she was the second woman to be promoted to the Court of Appeal, before becoming the first woman Law Lord.
She retains her links with the academic world as Visitor of Girton College, Cambridge, and Visiting Professor of Kings College London. She previously served as Chancellor of the University of Bristol. A home maker as well as a judge, she thoroughly enjoyed helping the artists and architects create a new home for The Supreme Court.