Written by Daniel Maiden, LLB Student, School of Law, University of Worcester
Ann Felicity Goddard was born on 22nd January 1936, in the London Borough of Lambeth, the daughter of police officer Graham Goddard and wife Margaret. During her education, Ann studied at Grey Coat Hospital, Westminster, a Church of England school for girls. Ann was awarded a law degree from the University of Birmingham and then went on to gain a master’s degree and a diploma in comparative legal studies at Newham College, Cambridge.
Ann Goddard was called to the bar in 1960, joining Gray’s Inn, obtaining a tenancy at 3 Temple gardens. She became a recorder in 1979 and, unusually for a woman at the time, Head of Chambers in 1985, holding that position until 1993. In 1990, Ann became a Bencher of Gray’s Inn in 1993 she became a circuit judge, and later a senior circuit judge.
As the sole female judge at the Old Bailey for many years, Goddard presided over many serious criminal trials. However, a number of cases particularly stand out. In the first the court was in a state of shock when the defendant, who was on trial for the murder of his partner, leapt out of the dock and struck Ann Goddard several times before being restrained. Typically, she was more concerned about others than herself.
This attack highlighted concerns that many lawyers had at the time about court security, following the withdrawal of court security staff and their replacement with private custody officers. The attack also changed the court room security at the Old Bailey, and all courts at the Old Bailey now include an enclosed dock with glass to prevent such incidences occurring again.
The second trial, which attracted a considerable amount of press attention in 2005, involved six men who were charged with attempting to bribe London Transport Officials, in relation to the extension of the Jubilee line on the London Underground. This trial was troubled from the start and eventually collapsed altogether after 2 years, after some of the jurors went on strike, partly due to the length of the seemingly never ending trial. The final cost of the collapsed trial came to £60m and unsurprisingly, the case raised serious issues around the handling of long and complex fraud trials in the UK.
More controversially, Ann Goddard was at the centre of criticism for her conduct of a rape trial, in which she allowed a defendant considerable scope to cross examine the victim. This case precipitated a change in the law around the cross examination of victims of rape.
Ann Goddard has left a significant legacy, as a highly successful woman in an area of law which was then more usually the domain of men. This is recognised by her Inn (Gray’s) which runs a scholarship programme in her name to support pupil barristers who decide to undertake training in areas of law which are publicly funded.