Peering into other people’s houses is an unexpected perk of video meetings in lockdown. Nothing passes the time on Zoom like inspecting the caller’s soft furnishings or judging the size of their telly. That said, Caroline Goodwin QC – chair of the Criminal Bar Association – has a more intriguing backdrop than most.
Looming behind Goodwin as she delivers her weekly video message to barristers is an enormous stainless-steel fridge-freezer. Roughly the size of a terraced house, it has four doors, heavy-duty ventilators and an ominous hum. The fridge has made such an impression that Goodwin has launched a competition inviting viewers to guess what she keeps in it. A stockpile of gourmet ice cream à la Nancy Pelosi? Former leaders of HMCTS? Obiter just doesn’t know.
Next time Goodwin rattles the CBA’s collecting tin, though, it might be politically prudent for her to sit in front of a more modest kitchen appliance.
This week, however, the bizarre backdrop was overshadowed by the appearance of Teddy, Goodwin’s very lovely fox terrier, to cheer up despondent criminal barristers. Obiter hopes Teddy is the first of many legal canines to make a lockdown debut.