Legal Business

Former child abuse inquiry judge Goddard enlists Carter-Ruck


The chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee has attacked retired New Zealand high court judge Dame Lowell Goddard QC for refusing to give oral evidence on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA).

In a letter dated 7 November, Goddard turned on the Home Office for not doing more to protect her during her tenure heading the public inquiry. ‘I am disappointed that there has been no government defence of me in England, despite the fact that information refuting some of the more serious allegations has been held by the Home Office,’ she said.

Goddard further announced she would refuse to return to the UK to give oral evidence before the Home Affairs Select Committee in the letter to Labour MP Yvette Cooper.

The former head of the inquiry has instructed London media boutique Carter-Ruck following reports in The Times over her handling of the investigation in response to what she called ‘malicious defamatory attacks’ in the UK press.

As well as instructing Carter-Ruck, with a team led by partner Guy Martin, Goddard is being advised in New Zealand by Harbour Chambers duo Hugh Rennie QC and former New Zealand Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC.

In a statement today (8 November), Cooper responded: ‘Dame Lowell Goddard’s refusal to give evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee about her resignation from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is disgraceful.’

Cooper added Goddard had been paid ‘significant amounts of public money to do an extremely important job which she suddenly resigned from’ and suggested the retired high court judge was looking to ‘avoid’ questions.

The inquiry also recently saw the departure of its lead counsel Ben Emmerson QC of Matrix Chambers. Emmerson instructed human rights firm Bindmans following his suspension.

Lawyers involved instructed in IICSA have told Legal Business there are serious doubts about the scope and scale of the inquiry, with the new chair Professor Alexis Jay estimating the investigation would last until at least 2020.

One QC involved in the inquiry said: ‘You could better spend the money. If it is going to cost £200m then we could do a yearlong inquiry into how child sex abuse is investigated now, not in the last 50 years.’

Legal Business

Media musical chairs: Schillings takes celebrity threesome case from Carter-Ruck


Having successfully won a privacy battle at the Supreme Court in May, celebrity threesome couple PJS and YMA has dropped lawyers Carter-Ruck for fellow media boutique Schillings.

The couple is part of a series of court cases involving allegations that the celebrity, who is part of a high-profile couple with two children, had an extra-marital affair. It is understood Schillings partner Jenny Afia is leading for the couple.

Earlier this year, the public figure, who can only be named by the initials ‘PJS’, successfully appealed against a ruling lifting the ban on media in England and Wales from publishing their name. The Sun on Sunday argued it should be able to publish the story as the name had already been published elsewhere.

PJS asked the court to consider the issue after the Court of Appeal in April ruled the injunction should be lifted.

A decision handed down in May by Lord Neuberger, Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Reed and Lord Toulson, four out of the five lords agreed that it was not in the public interest as neither of the couple held public office.

The injunction bans the media in England and Wales from naming the person except by initials. It will now remain in place until there is a full trial for breach of privacy.

5RB’s Desmond Browne QC was instructed by Carter-Ruck for the appellant while Matrix Chambers’ Gavin Millar QC was instructed by Simons Muirhead & Burton Solicitors for the lead respondent The Sun on Sunday.

The couple is now instructing Schillings, which specialises in reputation defence and represents high-profile and high net worth individuals as well as private and publicly listed businesses.

Carter-Ruck carries a reputation for reputation management of its own, and famous cases includes representing Commons Speaker’s wife Sally Bercow after she published a tweet about Tory peer Lord McAlpine, who was wrongly linked by BBC Newsnight to a child sex abuse case at Bryn Estyn children’s home in the 1970s and 80s.

Read more about the media law landscape in: ‘Shock and Flaw – is Leveson workable?