In Your Defence: Stories of Law and Life
Sarah Langford is a barrister. Her job is to stand in court representing the mad and the bad, the vulnerable, the heartbroken and the hopeful. She must become their voice: weave their story around the black and white of the law and tell it to the courtroom.
These stories may not make headlines but they will change the lives of ordinary people in extraordinary ways. They are stories which, but for a twist of luck, might have been yours.
To work at the Bar is to enter a world shrouded by strange clothing, archaic rituals and inaccessible language. So how does it feel to be an instrument of such an unknowable system? And what does it mean to be at its mercy? Our legal system promises us justice, impartiality and fair judgement. Does it, or can it, deliver this?
With remarkable candour, Sarah describes eleven cases which reveal what goes on in our criminal and family courts. She examines how she feels as she defends the person standing in the dock. She tells compelling stories - of domestic fall out, everyday burglary, sexual indiscretion, and children caught up in the law – that are sometimes shocking and often heart-stopping.
She shows us how our attitudes and actions can shape not only the outcome of a case, but the legal system itself, and her book asks us to consider, in our increasingly polarized world, what is truth and what is justice.