OBITUARY for Her Honour Judge Ann Goddard , QC.   Leave a comment


Exemplary lawyer regarded as the shrewdest of opponents who was for many years the only woman judge at the Old Bailey

Ann Goddard was seen by many as the perfect tribunal. Courteous, firm, well prepared and conscious of her duty to all before her, an enviable calm temperament added dignity to anything she did, ideal in a trial judge. She saw herself as the holder of an office, and when she walked into the court she sought to leave Ann Goddard outside.

She need not have done — her personality could have been the template for even-handed justice. She came up through the ranks of the profession with stars against her name, one of the best lawyers of her generation, and a quiet, unfussy, compelling advocate. No fireworks, no grandstanding, simply talent, well applied.

Ann Felicity Goddard was born in London in 1936, the only child of Graham Elliott Goddard and Margaret Louise Hambrook Goddard, née Clark. Her father was a senior officer in the Metropolitan Police and in 1973 suffered a debilitating stroke. Ann and her mother cared for him for his remaining 11 years. Thereafter Goddard made sure her mother’s life lacked nothing she could supply — a generous standard of living, holidays, entertainment, and most tellingly her own company. By her mother’s death in 1995 Ann had surrendered her chances of marriage and children, had never lived in privacy, and had never complained.

After the Grey Coat Hospital School in Westminster and her undergraduate law degree at the University of Birmingham she read an LLM and secured a diploma in comparative legal studies at Newnham College, Cambridge. She was joint seventh in her Bar finals and was called in 1960 by Gray’s Inn, where she was a Holker scholar. The chronicle of achievement was under way.

After pupillage with Terry Gibbens in the then 4 now 6 King’s Bench Walk, the chambers of John Buzzard, QC, she secured a tenancy in 3 Temple Gardens where she remained for the rest of her life at the Bar. As a senior junior she was the advocate of choice for the highly discriminating Metropolitan Police Solicitor, representing him in the Divisional Court where her scholarship and “feel” for the criminal law allowed her to shine. Admitted to silk in 1982, Ann Goddard, QC, went on her inexorable way up the ladder of success. She never spoke badly of colleagues, she never set out to score dubious points, she never compromised her own quiet dignity, but she was the shrewdest of opponents and the most demanding of leaders.

She became head of chambers in 1985 and shouldered that demanding burden, without complaint, until 1993. No member of 3 Temple Gardens turned to her in a quandary, confusion, distress or anxiety professional or personal, and left feeling unsupported. Chambers was the first of two professional families she loved and which loved her.

Made a Bencher of Gray’s Inn in 1990, in 1993 she accepted an invitation to join the Circuit Bench and in 1997 became a Senior Circuit Judge within her second and final family, the Old Bailey. For a few years she was one of only two and for many years the only woman judge. She became a liveryman of the Worshipful Companies of Clockmakers and of Gardeners.

It was at the Old Bailey that from 2004-2005 she tried the Jubilee Line fraud, six men accused of corruption over the building of the extension to the Tube. The hearing was dogged by problems, including sickness, jury difficulties, and lengthy delays such that after nearly two years the Crown with the approval of the Director of Public Prosecutions concluded that a fair trial was no longer possible and sought the discharge of the jury. All six were formally cleared. Goddard was much affected by it. She felt, with some justification, that she had incurred criticism for the way she had performed a difficult balancing act. One simple solution, suggested to her but rejected, was to change the sitting times of the court to “Maxwell hours”, beginning not at 10.30 but at 09.30, with no luncheon adjournment and the end of the jury’s day at 13.30. Submissions on the law could be heard during the afternoon without disruption to the trial and the jurors could couple their civic duty with continuing their own lives. It was undoubtedly a bad mistake and may well have cost her the control of a difficult trial.

In 2001 she suffered an attack by a defendant accused of murder. He vaulted the open dock, ran on to the Bench, threw a glass carafe at her but missed, and punched her to the head and face several times. She was treated in hospital for a gash to her forehead. It was entirely in character that, as one member of the Bar present in court said: “Judge Goddard was more worried about the safety of everyone else rather than herself.” Docks were subsequently glassed in.

Her range of skill and experience made her a natural choice as director of the induction course at the Judicial Studies Board, the training ground for Recorders (members of the profession sitting part-time as judges) where she taught and supervised the teaching of courtcraft and the development of a judicial cast of mind. She was an outstanding success.

She retired from the Bench, as her age made compulsory, in 2008, and with reluctance. But she had begun to reconfigure her life, with plans for yet more foreign travel. She especially loved South Africa where she had cousins.

Though appropriately distant on the Bench and not beguiled into humour, which she thought unseemly in the setting of serious crime, she had a wonderful dry wit and matching deadpan delivery in private. In the past decade she was part of a theatre group, made up of a number of friends and colleagues but including all walks of life and all ages. She sparkled at the pre-theatre suppers, at ease seated next to an ambassador, a greengrocer, a music student, or a Justice of the Supreme Court, to whom she would offer a few tips over the salmon fishcakes.

Nine years ago her friend Ann Denison, the distinguished QC Ann Curnow, persuaded her, against her better judgment, to have a kitten. D’Israeli arrived and transformed her life. A Burmese aristocrat, Dizzy had, she assumed, rather modified his social milieu to come and live with her in South London. Some years ago he required special food whose packaging read “for the obese pet”. She remarked: “Thank goodness he can’t read.”

Goddard was, unsurprisingly, the perfect godmother to several godchildren, two of whom were with her in the hours before her death.

The legal profession began its mourning in its traditional way, with a brief tribute to her in Court One at the Old Bailey. Hundreds packed the court to mark the loss of a woman who gave much, asked little, and was loved and respected in equal proportion.

Her Honour Ann Goddard, QC, Senior Circuit Judge, was born on January 22, 1936. She died of cancer on March 23, 2011, aged 75



Posted April 12, 2011 by theoldbailey in OLD BAILEY STAFF

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