HM Courts and Tribunals Service has named Nick Goodwin as its new chief executive.
He will take over the top job at HMCTS in mid-March. Interim chief executive Kevin Sadler will retire later in the month, after a handover period.
Goodwin is currently chief executive of the Office of the Public Guardian. HMCTS said his appointment was approved by prime minister Boris Johnson after an open competition for the role, which offered a salary of up to £130,000 to the successful applicant.
Goodwin said he was “delighted” to be given the privilege of leading HMCTS.
“Having spent the majority of my career working alongside courts and tribunals staff and the judiciary, I know there is nothing more important, nor rewarding, than upholding the rule of law and administering justice,” he said.
Goodwin said he wants to “continue to improve and modernise our excellent justice system”.
One of his major tasks will be tackling the backlog in court cases, which had built up prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and reached record highs during the crisis.
Statistics from last year showed there were nearly 61,000 outstanding crown court cases, and more than 364,000 cases waiting to be heard in magistrates’ courts.
The National Audit office warned last month that the backlog in crown court cases will be significant for “several years”.
Before becoming chief exec of the Office of the Public Guardian in 2019, Goodwin was director for access to justice policy at the Ministry of Justice.
Antonia Romeo, permanent secretary at the MoJ, said: “Nick is a talented public servant with valuable MoJ and agency experience.
“I know he will lead HM Courts and Tribunals Service with energy and integrity, working with colleagues across MoJ and our partners to continue to deliver our ambitious court reform programme and ensure we remain on track in our pandemic recovery.”
Romeo also thanked Sadler for his “excellent” interim leadership of HMCTS.
“During his tenure, HMCTS has helped keep the justice system moving and taken important steps to begin to recover from the effects of the past two years,” she said. “He has been a terrific colleague and I wish him all the best for his retirement.”