Child Abuse Inquiry Judge's ?500,000 Pay Package Revealed

The Guardian
July 13, 2015

Lowell Goddard, who is chairing the child abuse inquiry. Photograph: PA

The New Zealand high court judge chairing a UK inquiry into child abuse is to receive a pay package worth ?500,000 a year, it has been disclosed.

Justice Lowell Goddard, who officially opened the inquiry last week, is to receive a salary of ?360,000 a year with a rental allowance of ?110,000 a year and a ?12,000 utility allowance on top.

The terms of her appointment also provide for four return flights a year to New Zealand for Goddard and her husband, plus two economy return flights a year for her family. The Home Office will provide her with a car and driver to be used for official travel only.

Goddard’s appointment is for the duration of the inquiry, which is expected to last until at least 2020, but she is on an initial fixed-term contract until December 2018 with provision to extend it for a further period to be agreed with the Home Office.

Keith Vaz, chair of the Commons home affairs committee, who has praised Goddard’s “outstanding credentials” for chairing the child abuse inquiry, nevertheless complained in March that his committee had been “duped” into approving her appointment without being told any details of her salary package.

Vaz said he welcomed Goddard’s decision to disclose her salary details but said it appeared that her personal remuneration for the inquiry could reach ?2.4m.

“The committee first requested this information on 11 February 2015 when Justice Goddard appeared before us for her pre-appointment hearing, but she did not yet have this information. We also requested this information from Theresa May when she appeared on 17 March 2015 but she refused to share it with the committee,” he said.

“I have noted the fact that if the inquiry lasts five years, as she suggests, Justice Goddard’s personal package is likely to amount to more than ?2.4m. It is also important that we have a breakdown of the legal costs, as it has been suggested that a number of lawyers will be involved.”

The home secretary, Theresa May, told MPs in March that the judge’s pay package would be in line with that offered to the two previous chairs who had to resign before the inquiry could get under way.

The ?500,000 pay package is also said to reflect the much higher rates of taxation that will be payable by Goddard while she is working in Britain, compared with the rates levied on her judicial earnings in New Zealand.

The ?360,000 salary is much larger than any paid to the judiciary in Britain. The salary of the lord chief justice of England and Wales, for example, was set at ?247,112 as of April 2015.

The inquiry, which has a budget of ?17.9m for its first year of operation, also published a “declaration of interests” letter from Goddard to the home secretary that she wrote in February to reject allegations that she and the New Zealand solicitor-general had covered up a police complaint about a fellow judge in 1994.

A Home Office spokesperson

said: “We welcome the fact that Justice Goddard is leading the inquiry’s important work and grasping this once-in-a-generation opportunity to get to the truth, expose what has gone wrong in the past and learn lessons for the future.

“Justice Goddard has a high level of relevant experience and expertise and, as she said herself last week, this is the most ambitious public inquiry ever established in England and Wales.”








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