Heather Hallett, Baroness Hallett

Heather Carol Hallett, Baroness Hallett DBE PC (born 16 December 1949), styled The Rt Hon. Lady Justice Hallett, is an English judge of the Court of Appeal. She is the fifth woman to sit in the Court of Appeal after Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss (now Baroness Butler-Sloss) (1988), Dame Brenda Hale (now Baroness Hale of Richmond) (1999), Dame Mary Arden (2000) and Dame Janet Smith (2002).

The Baroness Hallett

Vice-President of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal
Assumed office
8 November 2013
Preceded bySir Anthony Hughes
Vice-President of the Queen's Bench Division
In office
3 October 2011  3 March 2014
Preceded bySir John Thomas
Succeeded bySir Nigel Davis
Personal details
Born (1949-12-16) 16 December 1949
Alma materSt Hugh's College, Oxford

Early life and education

Hallett is the daughter of Hugh Victor Dudley Hallett QPM (1919-1991), a beat policeman who worked his way up to the rank of assistant chief constable and secretary general of the International Police Association.[1][2][3][4] She was educated at Brockenhurst Grammar School, in the New Forest, and at St Hugh's College, Oxford.

Hallett was called to the Bar by The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in 1972. She became a Queen's Counsel in 1989 and a Bencher of Inner Temple in 1993. She was the first woman to chair the Bar Council, in 1998, having been vice-chair in 1997, and became Treasurer of the Inner Temple in 2011.

Hallett was appointed a Recorder of the Crown Court in 1989, a deputy High Court judge in 1995, became a full-time judge of the High Court, in 1999, in Queen's Bench Division, being appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) on 21 July 1999.[5] She was promoted to the Court of Appeal in 2005. She was appointed a member of the Judicial Appointments Commission in January 2006, as a representative of the judiciary.

Hallett was chosen in 2009 to act as coroner in the inquest of the 52 fatal victims of the 7/7 bombings; hearings began in October 2010.

She began a four-year term as Vice-President of the Queen's Bench Division on 3 October 2011, succeeding Lord Justice Thomas.[6]

In May 2012 in an appeal hearing she quashed the murder conviction of 24-year-old Sam Hallam as unsafe after he had spent seven years in prison, which made him one of the youngest victims of a UK miscarriage of justice.[7]

In February 2013 she was assessed as the 8th most powerful woman in Britain by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[8] In November 2013, she was appointed Vice-President of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal, succeeding Lord Hughes.[9]

In March 2014 she was appointed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to carry out an independent review of the administrative scheme by which 'letters of assurance' were sent to those known as the 'on the runs' (OTRs).[10]

On 14 June 2017 she was made an Honorary Fellow of The Academy of Experts in recognition of her contribution to The Academy's Judicial Committee and work for Expert Witnesses.

House of Lords

Hallett was nominated for a life peerage in the 2019 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours.[11] She was created Baroness Hallett, of Rye in the County of East Sussex, on 11 October 2019.[12]

Personal life

Hallett is married to Nigel Vivian Marshall Wilkinson,[13] Q.C., a recorder and deputy high court judge;[14] they have two sons.[1]


  1. "Hallett, Rt Hon. Dame Heather (Carol) - WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO". doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.001.0001/ww-9780199540884-e-18690/version/2. Retrieved 16 August 2018. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. "Law: You call it trouble, I call it success". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  3. "Lady Justice Hallett: profile". 8 November 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2018 via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  4. Who's Who in the United Nations and Related Agencies, Arno Press, 1975, p. 236
  5. "No. 55574". The London Gazette. 6 August 1999. p. 8517.
  6. "Appointment of Vice-President of the Queen's Bench Division and Deputy Senior Presiding Judge" (Press release). Judiciary of England and Wales. 27 July 2011.
  7. Sam Hallam freed on bail in murder conviction appeal BBC News, Retrieved on 16 May 2012.
  8. "Woman's Hour - The Power List 2013 - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  9. "Appointment of new Vice President of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)" (Press release). Judiciary of England and Wales. 8 November 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  10. "Statement by the Hallett Review, 27 March 2014" (Press release). The Hallett Review. 27 March 2014. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014.
  11. "Resignation Peerages 2019" (PDF). Cabinet Office. 10 September 2019.
  12. "No. 62799". The London Gazette. 17 October 2019. p. 18632.
  13. "Wilkinson, Nigel Vivian Marshall - WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO". doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.001.0001/ww-9780199540884-e-39871/version/5. Retrieved 16 August 2018. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. Bates, Stephen (11 October 2010). "Profile: Lady Justice Hallett". the Guardian. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
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