Who are the Supreme Court Brexit judges? The 11 justices who’ll rule on landmark Article 50 case

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All eyes turn to the Supreme Court, a grey stone building across the square from Parliament (Photo: Reuters)

On the morning of Monday, December 5, all eyes turn to a grey stone building across the square from the Houses of Parliament.

There, in a grandiose courtroom, all 11 justices of the Supreme Court will sit together for the first time to decide a landmark case on Brexit .

So important to Britain’s unwritten constitution is the case that it is taking four full days – and only reports back its verdict in January.

It began last month, when the High Court ruled Theresa May cannot trigger two-year exit process Article 50 without a vote in Parliament.

That sparked a vicious backlash from Brexiteers who attacked the judiciary itself, with the Daily Mail branding judges ‘enemies of the people’.

These are the 11 judges in the Supreme Court case (not Lord Toulson, top left) (Photo: PA)

Gina Miller, the fund manager who brought the successful fight, said she has had death and rape threats. Now she is frightened to leave the house.

Lord Chancellor and Tory minister Liz Truss, slow to defend the judges, faced her own backlash for not sticking up loudly enough for the sanctity of law.

All this noise will seem a world away in the clinical atmosphere of the Supreme Court, which is hearing the government’s appeal.

So who are the 11 judges this time – and are they likely to suffer the same barrage from right-wingers if if they don’t get their way?

It is true that a few have made no secret of their past ties with Europe. But another has been critical of European rulings, and another still is insistent judges will put their personal views behind.

One thing unites them all – and expect this to come up if they face criticism – they are 11 of the most senior, experienced legal voices in the land.

Here’s a quick profile of the powerful panel.

1. Lord David Neuberger

President of the Supreme Court, David Neuberger

The 68-year-old became President of the Supreme Court in 2012 after a four-decade legal career.

The Old Boy of posh Westminster School – a stone’s throw from the court – was made a QC in 1987 and a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2004.

Critics branded him a Europhile after he said studying rulings from Europe helped English judges "take a more principled and structured approach to decision-making".

A Tory MP, Andrew Brigden, even called for him to quit – because of his wife. Pro-Remain Angela branded the referendum "mad and bad" on Twitter.

2. Lady Brenda Hale

Baroness Hale of Richmond

The 71-year-old Deputy President is the most senior female judge in British legal history, and the only woman in the male-dominated (and all-white) court.

She flew into a storm with Brexiteers last month by warning Theresa May could need a "comprehensive replacement" for the 1972 European Communities Act – before triggering Article 50 .

Such a requirement would snarl up the government and parliament for months with tricky legislation unpicking European law.

She also pointed out matter-of-factly that the vote on June 23 "was not legally binding on Parliament".

3. Lord Jonathan Mance

Baron Mance

The 73-year-old has been a High Court judge since 1993 after graduating from Oxford and top private school Charterhouse.

He’s one half of Britain’s top judicial power couple – with his wife Lady Mance serving as a Court of Appeal judge.

He also attracted the ire of Brexiteers for comments he made in 2013, a week after David Cameron confirmed there would be a referendum.

He said the EU’s "generally consensual" decision process "operates to accommodate the concerns of major EU players, among which the UK certainly is."

He added: "I remain an optimist that future developments will meet the concerns of all but the most extreme Eurosceptics and that the UK’s relationship with the Court of Justice will continue."

4. Lord Brian Kerr

Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore

The 68-year-old is not to be confused with the other Lord Kerr – a peer who wrote Article 50 and said Brexit could be stopped.

This Lord Kerr has been a QC since 1983, and was the last Law Lord to be appointed before the posts were abolished, after studying at a boys’ selective school and Queen’s University Belfast.

In a rare interview last month he admitted judges may well have personal views on the case, but added: "We are all extremely conscious of the need to set aside our personal views and to apply the law as we conceive it to be."

  • President of the Supreme Court, David Neuberger

5. Lord Anthony Clarke

The Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony

The 73-year-old is a former Master of the Rolls, England’s second-most senior High Court judge.

A Cambridge-educated judge since 1985, he led an inquiry into a 1989 crash on the Thames between the Marchioness pleasure boat and dredger that killed 51 people.

He also served as the Admiralty Judge in the early 1990s, as a specialist overseeing shipping cases. But Brexiteers fishing for anti-EU sentiments, in this case, have been left dangling a line.

6. Lord Nicholas Wilson

Lord Wilson of Culworth

The 71-year-old is one of Britain’s most experienced family law experts, sitting as a High Court judge on the subject for 12 years.

He dealt with traumatic cases of divorce and separation, and 2014 heralded the decline of the "nuclear family" – though he said that was no bad thing.

The traumatic separation from the EU will be wholly different.

The music and theatre fan was educated at Oxford and owns a number of racehorses including one named Ben Trovato.

7. Lord Jonathan Sumption

Lord Sumption

The Eton- and Oxford-educated 67-year-old was once described as having a "brain the size of a planet" and branded his £1.6m-a-year wages "puny".

As a QC he represented the government in the Hutton Inquiry, which probed the infamous death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly after he leaked (later debunked) claims of a "sexed-up" dossier on Iraq.

He is the only Supreme Court justice to leapfrog to the highest court without previously serving as a full-time judge.

In 2009 he said the European Court of Human Rights had a "significant democratic deficit in some important areas of social policy."

8. Lord Robert Reed

Lord Reed

A spring chicken at 60, the long-serving Scottish judge agreed to make the trips to London to become the youngest justice of the Supreme Court.

The Oxford-educated music fan has sat as an ad-hoc judge in the European Court of Human Rights.

He also advised the EU initiative on Turkey’s democratisation and human rights.

9. Lord Robert Carnwath

Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill

The Eton- and Cambridge-educated 71-year-old was the chief legal adviser to Prince Charles during the breakdown of his marriage to Diana.

He became a QC in 1985 and served in the High Court for eight years before joining the Court of Appeal.

The viola-playing golf and tennis fan is an expert on the environment and was a joint founder of the EU Forum of Judges for the Environment.

10. Lord Anthony Hughes

Lord Hughes of Ombersley

The 68-year-old bellringing fan has been a barrister since 1970 after studying at Durham University, and was made a QC in 1990.

He worked as a High Court judge for nearly a decade before joining the Court of Appeal and then the Supreme Court since 2013.

11. Lord Patrick Hodge

Lord Hodge

Along with Lord Reed, the 63-year-old is one of two Scots in the highest court in the land.

Educated at Cambridge, he is a fan of opera and skiing – and has shown some political interest as a former trustee of the David Hume Institute think tank.

However, it’s no Hard Brexit pressure group – centrist, non-aligned charity claims to "promote the use of evidence in policy-making".