By Brenda Hale
Published Oct 2021
Lady Hale is an inspirational figure admired for her historic achievements and for the causes she has championed. Spider Woman is her story.
As ‘a little girl from a little school in a little village in North Yorkshire’, she only went into the law because her headteacher told her she wasn’t clever enough to study history. She became the most senior judge in the country but it was an unconventional path to the top.
How does a self-professed ‘girly swot’ get ahead in a profession dominated by men? Was it a surprise that the perspectives of women and other disadvantaged groups had been overlooked, or that children’s interests were marginalised? A lifelong smasher of glass-ceilings, who took as her motto ‘women are equal to everything’, her landmark rulings in areas including domestic violence, divorce, mental health and custody were her attempt to correct that.
As President of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale won global attention in finding the 2019 prorogation of Parliament to be unlawful. Yet that dramatic moment was merely the pinnacle of a career throughout which she was hailed as a pioneering reformer.
Wise, warm and inspiring, Spider Woman shows how the law shapes our world and supports us in crisis. It is the story of how Lady Hale found that she could overcome the odds, which shows that anyone from similar beginnings will find that they can cope too.