A judge in touch with society and its issues

Mr Justice Hedley is a 58-year-old committed Christian and registered foster parent, who became a High Court judge three years ago.

He has made many difficult judgments. He once concluded that an infertile man whose former partner became pregnant after IVF with the sperm of an anonymous donor had the right to be legally regarded as the child's father.

Two years ago, the judge, who has four children, decided that a surrogate mother who gave birth to twins in Britain would have to fight for their possession in the US, where the husband and wife who arranged the pregnancy lived.

A reader in the Church of England for nearly 30 years, he was born in London, but grew up in Africa. He joined the University of Liverpool's law school in 1965 and was called to the Bar at Gray's Inn in 1969. In a ceremony at the university last year, he was said to be "the epitome of a modern judge, in touch with society and its issues".