In Your DefenceStories of Life and Law
I loved this book. It made my heart sing. Written by a woman in the law with compassion, wit and legal know-how, these true life courtroom stories tell it like it is. - Helena Kennedy QCSarah 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.
Sarah Langford has been a practising barrister since 2006, both in London and around the country, principally in criminal and family law. She studied English at the University of the West of England. She worked as a barmaid, legal secretary and note-taking clerk before completing a law conversion, in which she gained a distinction. She was awarded a scholarship from Gray's Inn of Court and went on to train as a barrister. She lives with her husband and two small boys in London and Suffolk.