Date / time
Date(s) - 10/11/2020
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Our annual Tom Sargant Memorial Lecture 2020 took place over Zoom on 10 November 2021.
Dame Vera Baird DBE QC delivered a lecture titled From Bystander to Participant? Victims and Witnesses in the Criminal Justice System.
Dame Vera Baird QC – Victims’ Commissioner (VC) for England and Wales
Appointed on 24 June 2019 for a three-year term, Dame Vera is responsible for championing the interests of crime victims and witnesses and reviewing the operation of the Victims Code of Practice (the Code).
As Commissioner, she regularly meets heads of Criminal Justice agencies, Ministers, Chief Constables, Police and Crime Commissioners, victim organisations, Parliamentarians and voluntary groups. She will undertake reviews into victim services and report on how agencies are complying with the Code.
Dame Vera is the former Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria (2012-19).
She previously spent much of her working life as a criminal barrister. She was called to the Bar in 1975 and took silk in 2000. She served as Labour MP for Redcar from 2001 to 2010. She was a Government Minister from 2006 to 2010 and Solicitor General from 2007 to 2010 – the House of Common’s most senior law officer. As Solicitor General she was closely involved in criminal justice policy and legislation and is particularly proud of her role in taking the Equalities Act 2010 through its House of Commons stages
In 2017 she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to women and equality.
Tom Sargant was JUSTICE’s Secretary – broadly equivalent to today’s Director – from its foundation in 1957 to his retirement in 1982.
As a result of his commitment, persistence and determination, JUSTICE played a key role in taking up the cause of miscarriage of justice cases. His tireless campaigning resulted in some 25 people being released, or released early, from prison. He was instrumental in many of the cases featured in the BBC Rough Justice series.
Tom also played a major role in bringing about other key measures such as the creation of the office of Ombudsman and the establishment of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.
He died in 1988.
Each year, we recognise Tom’s work by inviting a high profile speaker – from practice, the judiciary, academia or politics to speak at the Memorial Lecture.