22.10.14

Book recommendation: Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders by John Mortimer

Horace Rumpole - cigar-smoking, claret-drinking, Wordsworth-spouting defender of some unlikely clients - often speaks of the great murder trial which revealed his talents as an advocate and made his reputation down at the Bailey when he was still a young man. Now, for the first time, the sensational story of the Penge Bungalow Murders case is told in full: how, shortly after the war, Rumpole took on the seemingly impossible task of defending young Simon Jerold, accused of murdering his father and his father's friend with a German officer's gun. And how the inexperienced young brief was left alone to pursue the path of justice, in a case that was to echo through the Bailey for years to come. John Mortimer's hilarious Rumpole, which fans of Sherlock Holmes and P.G. Wodehouse will love, sees the magician of the Old Bailey at his unpredictable and brilliant best. Available from Amazon.

15.10.14

Book recommendation: Just Law by Helena Kennedy QC

Acute, questioning, humane and passionately concerned for justice, Helena Kennedy is one of the most powerful voices in legal circles in Britain today. Here she roundly challenges the record of modern governments over the fundamental values of equality, fairness and respect for human dignity. She argues that in the last twenty years we have seen a steady erosion of civil liberties, culminating today in extraordinary legislation, which undermines long established freedoms. Are these moves a crude political response to demands for law and order? Or is the relationship between citizens and the state being covertly reframed and redefined? Available from Amazon.

8.10.14

Book recommendation: The Children Act by Ian McEwan

Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge, presiding over cases in the family court. She is renowned for her fierce intelligence, exactitude and sensitivity. But her professional success belies private sorrow and domestic strife. There is the lingering regret of her childlessness, and now, her marriage of thirty years is in crisis. At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: for religious reasons, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, Adam, is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents share his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely held faith? In the course of reaching a decision Fiona visits Adam in hospital - an encounter which stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both. Available from Amazon.

1.10.14

Book recommendation: The Law Machine by Marcel Berlins and Clare Dyer

The authors explain and discuss how the justice system evolved, the way it operates - including vivid descriptions of the trial process - and how lawyers work. Revised and updated throughout for this fifth edition, THE LAW MACHINE surveys recent developments in the workings of justice and the outlook for the future. Available from Amazon.

24.9.14

Book recommendation: Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience by Shaun Usher

Letters of Note is a collection of over one hundred of the world's most entertaining, inspiring and unusual letters, based on the seismically popular website of the same name - an online museum of correspondence visited by over 70 million people. From Virginia Woolf's heart-breaking suicide letter, to Queen Elizabeth II's recipe for drop scones sent to President Eisenhower; from the first recorded use of the expression 'OMG' in a letter to Winston Churchill, to Gandhi's appeal for calm to Hitler; and from Iggy Pop's beautiful letter of advice to a troubled young fan, to Leonardo da Vinci's remarkable job application letter, Letters of Note is a celebration of the power of written correspondence which captures the humour, seriousness, sadness and brilliance that make up all of our lives. Including letters from: Zelda Fitzgerald, Iggy Pop, Fidel Castro, Leonardo da Vinci, Bill Hicks, Ana├»s Nin, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Amelia Earhart, Charles Darwin, Roald Dahl, Albert Einstein, Elvis Presley, Dorothy Parker, John F. Kennedy, Groucho Marx, Charles Dickens, Katharine Hepburn, Kurt Vonnegut, Mick Jagger, Steve Martin, Emily Dickinson and many more. Available from Amazon.

17.9.14

Book recommendation: Power of Attorney by Dexter Dias

With a $15 million super-yacht ablaze on the Thames and a tortured body upon it, young lawyer David Kilkenny, run out of the police force for exposing corruption, has the chance to make his name. Surprisingly, the main opposition comes from his enigmatic client, Sebastian Santos. Mercurial entrepreneur, money launderer or the most softly spoken, coldly cruel murderer to come before the courts? But to take down his client, he must also take down Santos' financier - David's own brother, Francis. Available from Amazon.

10.9.14

Book recommendation: Scalia and Garner's Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges by Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner

In their professional lives, courtroom lawyers must do these two things: speak persuasively and write persuasively. In this noteworthy book, two of the most noted legal writers of our day - Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner - systematically present every important idea about judicial persuasion in a fresh, entertaining way. Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges is a guide for novice and experienced litigators alike. It covers the essentials of sound legal reasoning, including how to develop the syllogism that underlies any argument. From there the authors explain the art of brief writing, especially what to include and what to omit, so that you can induce the judge to focus closely on your arguments. Finally they show what it takes to succeed in oral argument. Available from Amazon.

3.9.14

Book recommendation: The Stay-Behind Cave by Boris Starling

Lord Of The Flies meets Flowers In The Attic. December 1940. As the German army closes in on Gibraltar, 16-year-old Rassie Elder and five friends stumble across the most secret place on the Rock. They were never supposed to know about this place, let alone find it. And now they're trapped inside, Gibraltar has fallen, and they'll stay alive only as long as they can remain undetected. But danger is not just outside the cave. It's in there with them too. For there is no darkness greater than that of the human heart. And the terror is just beginning.... The greatest World War Two story never told. Until now. Available from Amazon.

27.8.14

Book recommendation: Gray Mountain by John Grisham

One week ago, Samantha Kofer was a third year associate at New York City's largest law firm. Now she is an unpaid intern in a legal aid clinic deep in small town Appalachia. When Lehman Brothers collapsed, she lost her job, her security, her future. As she confronts real clients with real problems, she finds herself a world away from her past life of corporate fat cats and fatter bonuses. This is coal country. Meth country. The law is different here. And standing up for the truth means putting your life on the line. Available from Amazon.

20.8.14

Book recommendation: Personal (Jack Reacher 19) by Lee Child

ack Reacher walks alone. Once a go-to hard man in the US military police, now he's a drifter of no fixed abode. But the army tracks him down. Because someone has taken a long-range shot at the French president. Only one man could have done it. And Reacher is the one man who can find him. This new heartstopping, nailbiting book in Lee Child's number-one bestselling series takes Reacher across the Atlantic to Paris - and then to London. The stakes have never been higher - because this time, it's personal. Available from Amazon.