Biographies of the Justices
President of The Supreme Court, The Right Hon the Baroness Hale of Richmond
Lady Hale took up appointment as President of The Supreme Court in September 2017, succeeding Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury.
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. In October 2009 she became the first woman Justice of The Supreme Court.
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 Chancellor of the University of Bristol, Visitor of Girton College, Cambridge, and Visiting Professor of Kings College London. A home maker as well as a judge, she thoroughly enjoyed helping the artists and architects create a new home for The Supreme Court.
Deputy President of The Supreme Court, The Right Hon the Lord Mance
Lord Mance took up appointment as Deputy President of The Supreme Court in September 2017.
In October 2005, Lord Mance became a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary. He was from 1999 to 2005 a Lord Justice of Appeal and from 1993 to 1999 a Judge of the High Court, Queen's Bench Division, where he also sat in the Commercial Court.
Lord Mance read law at University College, Oxford, spent time with a Hamburg law firm and then practised at the commercial bar and sat as a Recorder until 1993. He chaired various Banking Appeals Tribunals and was a founder director of the Bar Mutual Indemnity Insurance Fund.
He represented the United Kingdom on the Council of Europe's Consultative Council of European Judges from 2000 to 2011, being elected its first chair from 2000 to 2003. He currently chairs the Executive Council of the International Law Association and the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Private International Law. He is a member of the Judicial Integrity Group and of the seven person panel set up under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (article 255) to give an opinion on candidates' suitability to perform the duties of Judge and Advocate-General of the European Court of Justice and General Court.
He served from 2007 to 2009 on the House of Lords European Union Select Committee, chairing sub-committee E which scrutinises proposals concerning European law and institutions. In 2006 he chaired a working group under the auspices of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Great Lakes Region, recommending changes in the procedures for enforcement of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and in 2008 he led an international delegation for the same Group and the Swedish Foundation for Human Rights, reporting on the problems of impunity in relation to violence against women in the Congo.
Justice of The Supreme Court, The Right Hon the Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore
Lord Kerr served as Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland from 2004 to 2009, and was the last Lord of Appeal in Ordinary appointed before the creation of The Supreme Court.
Lord Kerr was educated at St Colman’s College, Newry, and read law at Queen’s University, Belfast. He was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 1970, and to the Bar of England and Wales at Gray’s Inn in 1974.
He served as Junior Crown Counsel from 1978 to 1983, at which point he took silk and served as Senior Crown Counsel from 1988 to 1993. In 1993 he was appointed a Judge of the High Court and knighted. He became Lord Chief Justice and joined the Privy Council in 2004.
Lord Kerr succeeded Lord Carswell of Killeen as Northern Ireland’s Lord of Appeal in Ordinary on 29 June 2009, the last Law Lord appointed before the creation of The Supreme Court.
Justice of The Supreme Court, The Right Hon Lord Wilson of Culworth
In 1967, after reading jurisprudence at Worcester College, Oxford, Lord Wilson was called to the Bar of England and Wales; and for the next 26 years, first as a junior and ultimately in silk, he practised almost exclusively in the field of family law.
From 1993 until 2005 he was a judge of the Family Division of the High Court. From 2005 until May 2011 he was a judge of the Court of Appeal.
In May 2011 he became a Justice of The Supreme Court.
Justice of The Supreme Court, The Right Hon Lord Sumption
After reading history at Magdalen College, Oxford, and serving for four years as a history Fellow of the College, Lord Sumption was called to the Bar (Inner Temple) in 1975 and took Silk in 1986. His practice covered all aspects of Commercial, EU and Competition, Public and Constitutional Law.
He was appointed as a Deputy High Court Judge in 1992 and served as a Recorder between 1993 and 2001. He was appointed as a Judge of the Courts of Appeal of Jersey and Guernsey in 1995. In January 2012 he became a Justice of The Supreme Court.
Lord Sumption was a Judicial Appointments Commissioner from 2006 to 2011. He is also an accomplished historian.
Justice of The Supreme Court, The Right Hon Lord Reed
Lord Reed is one of the two Scottish Justices of The Supreme Court. After studying law at the universities of Edinburgh and Oxford, he was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1983, where he undertook a wide range of civil work.
He served as a senior judge in Scotland for 13 years, being appointed to the Outer House of the Court of Session in 1998 and promoted to the Inner House in January 2008. He has sat as an ad hoc judge of the European Court of Human Rights.
Justice of The Supreme Court, The Right Hon Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill, CVO
After studying law at Trinity College, Cambridge, Lord Carnwath was called to the Bar (Middle Temple) in 1968 and took silk in 1985. He served as Attorney General to the Prince of Wales from 1988 to 1994.
He was a judge of the Chancery Division from 1994 to 2002, during which time (1998 to 2002) he was also Chairman of the Law Commission. Lord Carnwath was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2002.
Between 2007 and 2012 he was Senior President of Tribunals and led the planning and implementation of the reforms of the tribunal system following the Leggatt report.
Justice of The Supreme Court, The Right Hon Lord Hughes of Ombersley
Lord Hughes was called to the Bar (Inner Temple) in 1970 and served as a Recorder of the Crown Court from 1985 to 1997. He became a Queen's Counsel in 1990 and was later appointed a judge of the High Court (Family Division from 1997 to 2003; and Queen's Bench Division from 2004 to 2006).
In 2006, he was appointed a judge of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, serving as the Vice President of its Criminal Division from 2009 until his appointment as Justice of the Supreme Court in April 2013.
Justice of The Supreme Court, The Right Hon Lord Hodge
Lord Hodge was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1983 and appointed a Queen's Counsel in 1996. From 1997 - 2003, he was a part time Law Commissioner at the Scottish Law Commission.
Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court in April 2013, Lord Hodge was the Scottish Judge in Exchequer Causes and one of the Scottish Intellectual Property Judges. He was also a Judge in the Lands Valuation Appeal Court and a Commercial Judge.
Lord Hodge joined the Supreme Court in October 2013 as one of the two Scottish Justices.