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Lady Brenda Hale addresses Annual Human Rights Lecture

04 Jul 2022

Lady Brenda Hale, The Rt Hon. the Baroness Hale of Richmond DBE, has given the keynote address at the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s Annual Human Rights Lecture in partnership with the Bar of Northern Ireland.

The event took place in the Royal Courts of Justice and was opened by Lady Chief Justice the Right Honourable Dame Siobhan Keegan. Lady Brenda Hale delivered the keynote address on the topic “Do we really need a British Bill of Rights?”

Speaking at the event Lady Hale commented:

“With the publication of its Bill of Rights Bill, the UK Government is trying to reduce the protection given to human rights in UK law and we must all be alive to the risks and dangers this poses.”

Chief Commissioner Alyson Kilpatrick said:

“The Commission is delighted to have the esteemed Lady Hale give the keynote address at our annual Human Rights Lecture. It is an honour to host the first woman to lead the UK’s highest court and hear her insights on the proposed Bill and its wide-reaching implications for the enjoyment and protection of human rights.

“We would also like to thank the Bar of Northern Ireland for their continued support of this event.”

Chair of the Bar Council of Northern Ireland, Bernard Brady QC said:

“It is an honour to welcome Lady Hale once again to the Royal Courts of Justice, Belfast for this keynote address.

“It is particularly significant to have Lady Hale, the First Female President of the Supreme Court, welcomed to this jurisdiction by the Lady Chief Justice the Right Honourable Dame Siobhan Keegan, our first female Chief Justice.

“This Annual Human Rights Lecture is taking place at a time when political events and legislative developments have combined to provoke renewed debate and concern about human rights protections.

“This serves as a reminder of the importance of fair, accessible and efficient legal processes, in which individual’s rights are protected and the rule of law absolute.

“We should not lose sight of the rule of law as an unqualified human good.”


Notes to editors

For queries contact Jason McKeown at 07769361156

Photo credit: UK Supreme Court

About the Annual Human Rights Lecture

Each year, in partnership with the Bar of Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission run an annual lecture on human rights issues in the UK with a keynote address from an esteemed speaker which have included the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore, Joshua Rozenberg QC (hon), and Philippe Sands QC in recent years.


The NI Human Rights Commission is a statutory public body established in 1999 to promote and protect the human rights of everyone in Northern Ireland. In accordance with the Paris Principles the Commission reviews the adequacy and effectiveness of measures undertaken by the UK Government to promote and protect human rights, specifically within Northern Ireland.

About Lady Brenda Hale DBE link to bio

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.

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