Image of the Liverpool Cathedral

His Honour Judge Clement Goldstone QC

Oration

Presented by: Judge David Lynch

Honourable Pro-Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting His Honour Judge Clement Goldstone, Queens Counsel, and the Honorary Recorder of Liverpool for the award of an Honorary Fellowship of Liverpool John Moores University.

Manchester born and bred, Clement Goldstone realised early on that the law was for him. He had the good fortune to have as a family friend and role model, Godfrey Heilpern, Queens Counsel, who was later to become Leader of the Northern Circuit. That friendship and, whilst at Manchester Grammar School, work experience with a local solicitor gave him an insight into the importance of law in a civilised society. He knew then that his future lay in the administration of justice and what he needed to do to achieve his goal.

He read law at Churchill College, Cambridge, was admitted as a student at Middle Temple, passed the bar examinations and began his practice in Manchester chambers 45 years ago. I know what you are thinking. It can’t be 45 years ago. He looks far too young. It’s not fair is it?

In those days members of the Bar tended to have practices ranging over most of branches of law unlike the specialisation so common in today’s more complicated world. He undertook criminal work, contract, personal injury and employment cases and his practice grew to such an extent that in 1993 he was appointed Queens Counsel and thereafter had a diet of only the most serious of cases. He added to this heavy case load the position of Treasurer of the Northern Circuit and head of a very large set of chambers. 

I first met Clement in the late 1980’s when he sat as a part time judge at Liverpool Crown Court having been appointed an Assistant Recorder and later a Recorder. He impressed the Liverpool judges and his selection as a President of the Mental Health Review Tribunal dealing with the disturbing cases of restricted patients at Ashworth Hospital came as no surprise. It seemed inevitable that he would become a full-time judge and he was appointed a Circuit Judge in 2002. His conduct of so many serious high profile criminal cases in Manchester Crown Court was such as to make him the obvious choice for promotion five years ago to the position of Senior Circuit Judge, Resident Judge and Honorary Recorder of Liverpool whose civic role, after the Lord Mayor, is that of the second citizen of this great city.

His ability, experience, and contribution to the law makes him eminently suited to this high office. He was acknowledged by his peers in 2004 when he was elected a Bencher (Governor) of Middle Temple. As a judge he has a balanced view of any case because at the Bar he made a point of not just prosecuting or not just defending criminal cases. His view was that you could not prosecute a case properly until you knew how to defend and vice versa. He did both and it had the added advantage of developing a balanced approach to cases. As a judge he, therefore, understands the difficulties faced by not just opposing counsel but also the stresses on all who participate in a criminal trial. I know he believes passionately that such a balanced approach, be it of a judge or advocate is a cornerstone of our criminal justice system. 

Well Manchester’s loss was Liverpool’s gain but first he had to overcome a worrying and delicate problem – his fervent support of a football club at the other end of the East Lancashire Road. He solved this potential deal breaker by the sheer force of his personality and charm and his move to Liverpool for an undisclosed fee has been a great success because of his vast experience and ability to play in most positions. You will appreciate that whatever I say now is hearsay because by the time he arrived in Liverpool my sell by date had expired and I had long gone.

However, I understand from my network of spies that he has a light touch and a very safe pair of hands. He is popular with his fellow judges and the staff. He lets them get on with the work and is always there with an encouraging word and on hand to give advice and resolve problems. He has just returned from three weeks sitting in the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division in London. That demonstrates the regard in which he is held and I know the Chancellor will support me when I say they do not let just anybody sit in the Court of Appeal.

Why is it when new initiatives are rolled out, Liverpool Crown Court is generally the testing ground? The answer is because the powers that be know that the judges and staff under the Recorder’s leadership are dedicated professionals. 

Thus Liverpool was chosen to pilot the procedure for pre-recording the evidence of young and vulnerable witnesses well before the trial. The outcome was so successful that it is now standard practice throughout the country. Very recently Liverpool played an important role in bringing the practice of the law into the 21st Century by introducing a new digital case system whereby the lawyers are able to access cases on line and confer in real time with the judges. This leads to greater efficiency and the speedier resolution of cases and enables the Recorder to have direct access to every case currently listed in the Liverpool Crown Court.

Away from the law, Clement enjoys a lively family life with his wife Vanessa, his sons, Simon, Jonathan and Maurice and their wives and six grandchildren. They are all here today apart from the youngsters. They are easy to spot out front looking very proud as they have every right to be. He plays a mean hand of bridge and is a fine golfer. The Northern Circuit has an annual golf fixture when judges and barristers compete at Formby for the prestigious Carlisle Cup. Speaking as one whose best ever effort 20 years ago, how shall I put it was in the top 50, you may detect a slight degree of envy when I tell you I have seen Clement win the cup not once but twice.

So here is a devoted family man, a leading judge attuned to necessary inevitable change whose public life has been dedicated to the service of others in the administration of justice. Therefore, it is with great personal pleasure that I present Clement Goldstone, an adopted son of Liverpool, for this civic university’s highest honour, the Fellowship of Liverpool John Moores University.