Brenda Hale, the first female president of the supreme court, and Sir Ian Burnett, the youngest lord chief justice for 50 years, have been sworn in at the opening of the legal year. In a series of ceremonies, the new heads of the judiciary in the UK and in England and Wales assumed office with recorded video broadcasts intended to demonstrate their commitment to improving the transparency of the courts.
Lady Hale’s confirmation was held in the supreme court, in Westminster, where she welcomed the appointment of a second female justice, Jill Black, to the 12-strong bench. The first woman appointed to be a law lord, in 2004, Hale had to wait until this week for a second woman to join her on the UK’s highest court.
Hale, 72, who was born in Yorkshire and succeeds David Neuberger, has been a consistent champion of judicial diversity. She has had a more varied career than most judges having previously been an academic and legal reformer on the Law Commission. After she was sworn in, Jonathan Mance was confirmed as the new deputy president of the supreme court. They were followed by the three new members of the court: Black, David Lloyd Jones and Michael Briggs.