Obituary

Louise Godfrey QC, 1950-2002

Louise Godfrey QC, 1950-2002
The female leader of the North Eastern Circuit and a highly respected criminal and family practitioner has died aged 52 after years of fighting cancer.
Louise Godfrey QC&#39s reputation in court as a determined advocate was reflected in her drive for women to hold equal status as men. She met with glittering success becoming the first female junior barrister member of the North Eastern circuit before rising to become the first woman leader of the circuit.
She was first diagnosed with cancer four years ago, but she struggled forward and five months ago she was appointed circuit leader. Colleagues at her Leeds set, Park Court Chambers, of which she was a member since she was awarded silk in 1991 recall how in the face of extreme adversity from her condition she never complained or sought pity but simply got on with the job at hand.
A reflection of her popularity rests in the fact that no less than 18 judges and dozens of lawyers and barristers convened last week in Leeds Combined Court Centre to pay respect to Godfrey. Similar gatherings took place at other courts in the Leeds area. At her funeral Gilbert Gray QC, a tenant of 3 Raymond Buildings, read out a statement on behalf of the Bar Council and the circuits.
Although small in stature she punched well above her weight. She had the intellectual ability to quickly grasp the essence of a case without being flowery. Alistair MacDonald QC, a fellow tenant at Park Court Chambers, described her as a courteous, fair and very determined opponent with a dry sense of humour in her private life.
Many were impressed that she worked tirelessly while raising a family, and also found the time to pursue her ideas for the Bar.
She was educated at Tadcaster Grammar School in North Yorkshire and St Hughes College, Oxford, and joined Leeds chambers 25 Park Square in 1972. She practiced criminal and family law and was a member of the mental health tribunal.
Her husband died of cancer several years ago. She is survived by two daughters Rebecca and Victoria.