Taking up the appointment, Lady Hale praised her predecessor, who had “made such a success of the role in the transition from the House of Lords to the Supreme Court”, and said she looked forward to “building upon the work which he has done to establish this great new institution in our national life”.

Lady Hale became the first woman Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in 2004, before the Supreme Court was established in 2009, following five years sitting in the Court of Appeal and five years as a High Court judge. She taught law at Manchester University from 1966 to 1984, after qualifying as a barrister and practising in Manchester. In 1984 she was the first woman to be appointed to the Law Commission.

An independent selection commission considered applications from among current Justices of the Supreme Court and consulted across each of the Supreme Court’s three UK jurisdictions.

Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, welcomed Lady Hale’s “exceptional range of experience”, her “significant contribution to the development of the law in many areas”, particularly family and mental health, and her work to promote diversity in the judiciary. Lady Hale will be sworn in at a special ceremony at a later date.

Meanwhile, the profession awaits the announcement of the successor to the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, which was expected as Counsel went to press.