30 Years of the Children Act 1989

On 13 November 2019 at Gray’s Inn Hall, Baroness Hale, the President of the Supreme Court and former Law Commissioner delivered the seventh Scarman lecture.

Lady Hale spoke about 30 years of the Children Act 1989. As a Commissioner, she led the creation of the Act which created a comprehensive and integrated statutory scheme of court powers for dealing with children cases, and paved the way for the later introduction of a single jurisdiction for family proceedings, the Family Court. This seminal Act has stood the test of time, placing children’s welfare at the centre of decisions about them.

Lady Hale’s lecture followed in the footsteps of the likes of Former Prime Minister of New Zealand Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg and former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd.

You can read the full speech on the Supreme Court website.

The Scarman Lecture was sponsored by Oxford University Press.


See how the Children Act 1989 was formed and the impact it has had with our video.

Lecture / Talk Details


Scarman Lectures


Baroness Hale of Richmond


13 November 2019


Children Act 1989