Keynote speaker

Lady Hale

Rt Hon the Baroness Hale of Richmond, DBE, FBA, LLD, FRCPsych

President of the Supreme Court

Lady Hale was appointed President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in September 2017, succeeding Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury.

In January 2004, she became the United Kingdom’s first and only woman Lord of Appeal in Ordinary after a varied career as an academic lawyer, law reformer, and judge. In October 2009, the Law Lords all became Justices of the Supreme Court. She was appointed its Deputy President in 2013, succeeding Lord Hope of Craighead.

After graduating from Cambridge in 1966, she taught law at Manchester University from 1966 to 1984, also qualifying as a barrister and practising for a while at the Manchester Bar. She specialised in Family and Social Welfare law, was founding editor of the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, and authored several books, including a pioneering case book on ‘The Family, Law and Society’.

In 1984 she was the first woman to be appointed to the Law Commission, a statutory body which promotes the reform of the law. Important legislation resulting from the work of her team at the Commission includes the Children Act 1989, the Family Law Act 1996, and the Mental Capacity Act 2005. She also began sitting as a part time judge.

In 1994 she became a High Court judge, the first to have made her name as an academic and public servant rather than a practising barrister. In 1999 she was the second woman to be promoted to the Court of Appeal, before becoming the first woman Law Lord.

She retains her links with the academic world as Visitor of Girton College, Cambridge, and a Visiting Professor of Kings College London. She was Chancellor of the University of Bristol from 2004 to 2016. She was Treasurer of Gray’s Inn in 2017.


Conference chair

Austin Lafferty

Partner, Austin Lafferty Solicitors

Austin is a solicitor, broadcaster, journalist and artist, who has worked in general practice since 1981. As well as running his own multi-branch firm around Glasgow, he was elected Vice-President of the Law Society in May 2011 and took over the presidency in May 2012, and is thus now a Past President of the Society. Austin has also worked in a variety of media roles, having been a radio and television presenter on numerous programmes. Austin is a newspaper columnist who has written extensively on legal matters. He has also authored ‘It’s The Law!’, which is a handbook on Scots Law for citizens, published in 2004.


We will continue to annouce further speakers in the coming weeks.

Delegates in the main conference hall

Secure your place today

Register now to join us on Friday 26 October at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre