Justice Lowell Goddard: Profile of the pioneering New Zealander leading the government CSA inquiry into child abuse

Goddard was the first woman with Maori heritage to sit in the New Zealand high court

Helen Nianias
Wednesday 04 February 2015 18:01

Justice Lowell Goddard was today announced as the new head of the inquiry into historic sex abuse.

But she's a far cry from the other judges who have previously led the beleaguered probe into the claims of a VIP paedophile ring operating in Westminster and elsewhere in the 1980s.


Goddard will have to rise above the chaos. The resignations of Baroness Butler-Sloss and Dame Fiona Woolf have set back proceedings. Add to this the inquiry's criticism by survivors of sex abuse, and reports of in-fighting among members of the inquiry panel. But Goddard could be the perfect person for the job.


The 66-year-old judge was the first woman of Maori heritage to sit in the New Zealand high court in 1995. Goddard was also one of the first women to be appointed as Queen's Counsel.


She has experience working with victims of sexual assault. At the beginning of her career, Goddard worked as a member of a committee that helped to establish a new clinic for survivors of sexual abuse.

Home life

Goddard's is married to lawyer Christopher John Hodson QC. She has three step-children and a daughter from her first husband and horses are her passion outside of work, which she breeds and races. She lists her hobbies as equestrian sport, gardening, her family and her grandchildren.