53 Facts About Vera Baird


Dame Vera Baird is a British barrister and politician who has held roles as a government minister, police and crime commissioner, and Victims' Commissioner for England and Wales.


Vera Baird served as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria Police from November 2012 to June 2019.


Vera Baird was appointed as Victim's Commissioner in June 2019 and resigned in September 2022, accusing government ministers of downgrading victims' interests.


Vera Baird was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to women and equality.


Vera Baird completed the first year of an MA in modern history at London Guildhall University from 1999 before transferring to the University of Teesside on being selected for Redcar.


Vera Baird is currently studying for an MPhil at the University of Teesside.


Vera Baird is an honorary fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford and of Teesside University and an honorary professor of London South Bank University.


In November 2017 Vera Baird was appointed an Honorary Fellow of Durham University Law School.


Vera Baird was called to the Bar at Gray's Inn in 1975 and first practised in the North East, setting up Collingwood Chambers in Newcastle upon Tyne, with other young barristers, shortly after she finished her pupilage and becoming its Head of Chambers for some years.


Vera Baird subsequently represented similar groups opposed to nuclear-waste dumping threatened at Fulbeck in Lincolnshire, at North Killingholme on Humberside and at Bradwell in a lengthy High Court action in 1986 before the plans were abandoned by the Conservative government shortly before the 1987 general election.


Vera Baird represented a dismissed mother-to-be in an early pregnancy discrimination case in the House of Lords.


Vera Baird represented local objectors in compulsory purchase and planning inquiries.


On Saturdays during the strike Vera Baird was regularly seen outside a supermarket in Jesmond with a wheelbarrow collecting food for miners' families.


Vera Baird met the 6th Lord Gifford while working on the Orgreave trial where her questioning of the police proved crucial to the outcome.


Vera Baird joined Gifford's chambers before moving to the Chambers of Michael Mansfield QC in 1988.


Thereafter Vera Baird was involved in many high-profile cases at the bar, defending in murders, robberies, drug cases, fraud and bribery cases at the Old Bailey and on appeal to the Court of Appeal and House of Lords.


Vera Baird represented Emma Humphreys on appeal, a disadvantaged young woman convicted of murdering her violent pimp when she was 17 years old.


Vera Baird acted for many other abused women following the Humphreys cases and the legal changes that it brought about.


Vera Baird defended prisoners accused of rioting at Risley Remand Centre and then at Strangeways Prison and continued to represent campaigners in many kinds of protest case.


Vera Baird took silk in 2000,25 years after becoming a barrister, and has said that the Queen's Counsel system is in need of reform to make it more transparent.


At the 1983 general election, Vera Baird contested the constituency of Berwick-upon-Tweed, finishing in third place behind the victor Alan Beith.


Vera Baird was re-elected at the 2005 general election with a reduction in her majority.


Vera Baird then became the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke.


Vera Baird was a frequent backbench speaker, winning adjournment debates on diverse national and local issues and in 2004 she was awarded The Spectator Backbencher of the Year Award.


Vera Baird delivered lectures at conferences on democracy, gender and human rights in many locations around the world and carried out election monitoring duties on nine occasions.


Higher profile campaigns included her involvement in a Commons revolt against derogation from Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights in which Vera Baird often took the lead in Parliament and the blocking of the partial abolition of jury trial proposed in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 through the proposal of amendments in the Commons.


Vera Baird designed and delivered courses, in consecutive years, for the British Council on aspects of criminal, civil and family law firstly for Ethiopian judiciary and secondly to the Ethiopian Police Service.


Vera Baird was a Patron of the Jubilee Debt Campaign of EVA-Women's Aid of FOCAS and ROC.


Vera Baird worked with MIND on strategies to make the criminal courts more responsive to people with mental illness or learning difficulties and was Secretary of the Parliamentary Labour Party Women's Committee.


In June 2007 Vera Baird became the Solicitor General for England and Wales, the Senior Law Officer in the House of Commons and the Government's Chief Legal Adviser and Criminal Justice Minister, a position she held jointly with the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland.


Vera Baird represented the Government in court, in particular in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division on Unduly Lenient Sentence appeals, asking the Appeal Court to increase too lenient Crown Court sentences.


Vera Baird advised on charities law where there were disputes in which the State had an interest.


Vera Baird was a senior member of the Inter-Ministerial Group which oversaw the NFA and the co-ordination of the UK's first National Fraud Strategy in partnership with over 28 public private and trade bodies.


The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau was established and Vera Baird spoke at key events, such as the Fraud Advisory Panel's Conference to promote co-ordinated action against fraud and in particular present a new focus on prevention and protection of what had historically and wrongly been seen as a victimless crime.


Vera Baird launched the Homophobic Hate Crime strategy and a Race and Religious Hate Crime strategy, with Sir Ken Macdonald and in 2008 with the CPS launched the first public policy on cases of crime against older people.


Vera Baird attended the Victims' Advisory Panel where victims informed of Government policy.


Vera Baird visited several joint CPS and Police Witness Care Unit s to develop the information and support for witnesses.


Vera Baird supported the roll-out of the Witness Intermediaries' Scheme, which provides support for witnesses with communication difficulties and the introduction of new offences to support those at risk of intimidation.


Vera Baird was a member of the National Criminal Justice Board which co-ordinates the agencies which collectively make up the Criminal Justice system.


Vera Baird was Ministerial sponsor of the Cleveland Local Criminal Justice Board and of the West Yorkshire LCJB.


Vera Baird was the subject of claims in newspapers at the time of the expenses scandal but, along with those of other MPs, her claims were investigated by Sir Paul Kennedy who found that she had claimed only for payments she was entitled to receive.


Vera Baird was elected to the post of Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner on 15 November 2012.


Vera Baird became a member of the Oversight Group representing Labour PCCs.


Together with two other North East region PCCs Vera Baird launched the first regional Violence Against Women And Girls Strategy in November 2013.


Vera Baird's office founded a network of Workplace Domestic Violence Champions.


Vera Baird was re-elected to the post of Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner in May 2016 with a majority of 121,766.


In May 2016 Vera Baird was elected to the position of Chair by the Board of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.


In 2017 Vera Baird became a Patron for the charity Operation Encompass.


Vera Baird was appointed as Victims' Commissioner for England and Wales in May 2019, taking up the position in mid-June of that year.


Vera Baird later said that in her opinion Dominic Raab wanted a "puppet on a string" and his proposed bill of rights would undermine the rights of victims.


The bill of rights tries to make it clear UK courts are not bound by rulings from the European court of human rights and would, in Vera Baird's opinion destroy "any positive impact from the victims' bill".


Vera Baird said that women and girls, who were victims of violence would be less able to push the police to perform better.


Vera Baird married David Taylor-Gooby in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1972.