The Annual Worcester Lecture given by Baroness Hale – 21st February 2019

Baroness Hale of Richmond is the most senior judge in the United Kingdom, being the President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. This includes acting as an ultimate appeal court for Scotland in certain circumstances. Since there has been no visiting High Court to Herefordshire during this shrieval year, it seems right to go to the top when the top came next door. Also, Baroness Hale has a particular interest in Social welfare, the focus of this shrieval year in Herefordshire.

The lecture is an annual event organised by Worcester Cathedral and the University of Worcester. It took place in Worcester Cathedral, hard to beat as a lecture theatre. The University of Worcester sees its first law students graduating this year. It is also the 100th anniversary of women being allowed to enter the legal profession.

Baroness Hale’s subject was “Moral Courage in the Law”. We take for granted the independence of the judiciary in this country. Looking world wide, it is rare. Even here it is sometimes under threat. In most parts of the world, the threat comes from government and those in power (not always the same thing). In this country, the threat is more from public opinion and the media, particularly in criminal cases. The public tend to have a “throw away the key” attitude towards criminal behaviour. A good judicial system is rather more thoughtful and nuanced.

The lecture was certainly thoughtful and thought provoking.

Here is a link to Baroness Hale’s Wikipedia entry for more information.