Lady Hale shows humour in stating that she doesn’t like being called Brenda because she read about a woman of the same name “and she was an absolute bitch”
“The Beyoncé of the legal world” that is The Right Honourable the Baroness Hale of Richmond DBE PC – better known as Lady Hale and born plain old Brenda Marjorie Hale – ceased to be President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom last week.
Yesterday, this judge – whom became best known for declaring Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament unlawful in September 2019 whilst wearing a spider brooch – gave an interview to The Guardian’s Simon Hattenstone. In it, she showed not only her intelligence, but also her wit.
Described as “diminutive, twinkle-eyed, razor sharp… A funny mix of old and new, fusty and modern,” Hale referenced The Archers “educating the public” (with their Rob and Helen Titchener story in 2016) and mocked her own name even.
Asked how to address her, Hale amusingly answered:
“Well, Lady Hale is the correct form of address… Some people do call me Brenda…[But] it’s the Brenda I don’t really like…”
“Ah well, what’s the book called? It was popular in the 1970s. A Handful Of Dust. This is all about a really decent aristocratic chap who marries a not-decent aristocratic woman called Brenda and she treats him very badly, is unfaithful to him, etc. But of course he does the decent thing and lets her divorce him because that’s what they did, and she then takes him to the cleaners. So he takes a trip up the Amazon where he is captured by some barmy Englishman who makes him stay there and read Dickens novels to him.”
“Well, I’m not sure I ever liked it. Not particularly happy with it, but not unhappy. Then I read that book, and she was called Brenda and she was an absolute bitch.”
This truly witty woman may have retired, but we reckon she’ll continue to make waves for many years yet.