Spider Woman

Spider Woman : A Life - by the former President of the Supreme Court

4.1 (435 ratings by Goodreads)
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4.1 (435 ratings by Goodreads)

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'Brenda Hale's story is extraordinary. She has been a pioneer... Spider woman and agent of change' Harriet Harman

Lady Hale is an inspirational figure admired for her historic achievements and for the causes she has championed. Spider Woman is her story.

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.

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.

How does a self-professed 'girly swot' get ahead in a profession dominated by men? 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 equality were her attempt to correct that.

Wise, warm and inspiring, Spider Woman shows how the law shapes our world. It is the story of how Lady Hale found that she could overcome the odds and change British law for good.

'Essential, entertaining and inspirational reading for all lovers of freedom, equality and justice' Shami Chakrabati

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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 30mm | 613g
  • The Bodley Head Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1847926592
  • 9781847926593
  • 26,845

Review Text

Lady Hale takes us on the journey from 'girly swot' to 'Spider Woman' and along the way teaches us about the importance of the rule of law and protecting human rights... with humanity, humour and deep insight
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Review quote

Brenda Hale is a superhero who embodies Parker's law that great power brings equivalent responsibility. Her wise, accessible memoir is essential, entertaining and inspirational reading for all lovers of freedom, equality and justice -- Shami Chakrabarti What a life, what a story... Spider Woman is restrained, warm, dryly funny ... and an inspiration to all women to aim high... Whatever her title, Brenda Hale rocks -- Melanie Reid * The Times * Inspirational and iconic -- Philippe Sands A feminist icon... Her success story is an inspiration for men and women both - showing that law matters -- Baroness Helena Kennedy QC This book is not only essential reading for anyone who is in the Law or interested in the Law but it is also a fascinating personal story -- Cherie Blair A compelling account of a path-breaking and inspirational career by one of the most influential lawyers and judges of our times -- David Pannick QC Brenda Hale's story is extraordinary. She has been a pioneer as a woman... Spider woman and agent of change -- Harriet Harman Lady Hale takes us on the journey from 'girly swot' to 'Spider Woman' and along the way teaches us about the importance of the rule of law and protecting human rights... with humanity, humour and deep insight -- Minouche Shafik This is an extraordinary and essential journey through the law by the most inspiring of figures -- Nazir Afzal Fluently written... Her accounts of her more groundbreaking cases are fascinating... [Spider Woman is] quietly thrilling -- Rachel Cooke * Observer * Eye-opening... I would highly recommend the work to law students, the newly qualified and those with a sociolegal interest in the treatment of women within the law and the profession -- Nick Clapham * Law Society's Gazette * A wonderful story... A wonderful read. A wonderful woman -- Alec Samuels * New Law Journal * A fascinating memoir weaving together personal and professional reflections -- Alex Dean * Prospect * Baroness Hale's autobiography, Spider Woman, is a reminder of the huge but incomplete progress made by women in public life over the past 60 years... The willingness to talk truth to power that she has shown is needed now more than ever -- Rachel Reeves * New Statesman, *Books of the Year* * [A] compelling autobiography... Hale reveals more than one might expect -- Frances Gibb * The Times, *Books of the Year* * Lady Hale... is a trailblazer for social reform. Her sharp intelligence and fierce work ethic are striking... Reading her autobiography makes one wish to know her as a person... She appears so very admirable for being oddly both self-effacing and feisty -- Jenny Kingsley JP * Magistrate *
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About Lady Hale

Brenda Hale, Rt Hon Baroness Hale of Richmond DBE, was born in Yorkshire and studied Law at Girton College, Cambridge. She was called to the Bar in 1969 and spent almost twenty years in academia alongside working as a part-time barrister.

In 1984, Lady Hale became the first woman and the youngest person to be appointed to the Law Commission. During her nine years there, she would oversee critical reforms in family law. She was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1989.

Lady Hale became a judge in the Family Division of the High Court of Justice in 1994 and in 2004 was made the United Kingdom's first woman Lord of Appeal in Ordinary. She was appointed Deputy President of the Supreme Court in 2013, and ultimately served as President from 2017 to 2020.
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Rating details

435 ratings
4.1 out of 5 stars
5 36% (156)
4 41% (178)
3 21% (91)
2 2% (8)
1 0% (2)
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