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10 thoughts on “In Your Defence

  1. says:

    A barrister is a specialist in putting the case of the adveraries in court They are instructed by solicitors, lawyers, and work in Chambers where the clerk books in cases into the diaries of the barristers Barristers generally don t have any choice of who they would like to represent.These are the stories of a young woman barrister who represented a wide range of people The most outstanding cases were the 17 year old but 18 and an adult at the time of the case caught with a mass of paeophile pornography on his computer He d been groomed and lured in at 12 himself This struck a real chord with me.I was in Santo Domingo on holiday with my 11 year old son He was using the hotel computer outside our room door I asked him what he was doing and he said, Mummy there s a poor boy whose very sad who says nobody likes him in school I m going to be his friend I said let me see There was a young man, lying down on his naked apart from briefs That s how easy it was When I got home I positioned our pcs at 90 degrees from each other in the study which had no curtains it s a rainforest I could see the screen reflection in the windows There was no wifi until he got to 16 There were other cases that were similarly moving, drug addicts caught in situations where rape, violence and prostitution were their inescapable daily routines Men with mental issues that were visible to all except for some reason court psychiatrists who were then imprisoned rather than sent for treatment Children who had been turned against one parent by the scorned one Other cases too.It was interesting to see how the barrister, the author, mined the paperwork, the questions and answers from the witness box and what her client told her for the absolute nugget around which the case was built and which would prove one side or the other was right, or innocent, or otherwise Quite a fascinating read and a good start to the year.The woman caught in a trap of being in a culture that allows what constitutes criminal abuse in ours view spoiler I ve only read two cases so far The second impressed me with the difference between a criminal case and civil case where the same evidence would be offered A woman from Bangladesh had been married to a British man and brought over to the UK She was abused physically and sexually by both her husband and her mother in law, who took her passport from her and locked her in the house Eventually she managed to escape to a family member s house with her daughter, Her husband took the child without her permission but she was returned to her by the police Now, if the woman had gone to the police to lay a complaint of abuse and rape when she went to court, she would have been kept far from her husband in different witness rooms, would have had the opportunity to give evidence remotely or would have been screened in court from him If the husband had decided to act on his own behalf, a barrister would have been employed by the court to put his questions to her Everything would be done so that their paths would not cross.But because it was a civil case They sat in the same corridor, the same canteen, he could question her about his alleged violence and rape in any way he chose, and even run his finger across his throat as a threat to what he would do to her A terrifying ordeal, perhaps especially to someone from a different culture who spoke almost no English.Since the case hung on whether or not he did rape and abuse her the barrister had to find some sort of proof, it was just his word against her s But she did Her husband as one of his first actions on greeting his new wife in his English home, had ripped up her precious scrap book which contained an autographed picture of a Bollywood star He was questioned about this this shows the absolute cleverness of the barrister, of why we employ barristers, specialists in questioning in court, rather than solicitors I know there is no separation between the two in the US, nor on my island I m going to quote it verbatim It had a note in it, to my wife, from another man Like, a love note I wasn t going to have that The note was written before you met Yes But she was my wife now, wasn t she And so when you married, what was hers became yours Yes That s how it is in our culture To do with as you wished It s natural She knows and I know what her role as a wife is A page of the book offended you, so you tore the whole thing up I ve already admitted that, haven t I Her book, her possessions, her body, her freedom they all belonged to you Look, it s different Islamically, the wife has only duty for her husband, whether she does it willingly or not Click Got him What happened to the wife after that view spoiler After that she got a temporary order giving her residency and the child, and he took off for Bangladesh, sending her very insulting material and divorcing her as she had brought dishonour on his family The mother in law was ordered to produce the passport and so the wife was able to establish her identity and get housing and benefits and an independent life Although not necessarily a happy one In her culture, being divorced for dishonouring her husband by exposing the private secrets of a family in public, meant that she was likely to be rejected by all her future potential husbands hide spoiler


  2. says:

    Book Reviewed by Stacey on www.whisperingstories.comIn barrister turned author Sarah Langford s book, In Your Defence Stories of Life and Law , we meet eleven clients that Sarah represented or had legal dealings with and which their stories had have stayed with her The cases are varied and whilst some were handled in the family courts, others were serious enough to go before the Crown.Each chapter is a new case At the beginning, you are given the clients name, where they were tried and the law which their crime comes under For example, the first case is that of Dominic who was tried at Oxford Magistrate Court and Oxford Crown Court The legal issue is covered under Children and Young Persons Act 1933, Section 50 Age of Criminal Responsibility.Each case is unique and they were all very interesting Some were heartbreaking, whilst others were heartwarming The book does read like a fictional story, yet you are conscious that it is all real You not only get to find out about the clients but also about Sarah herself too Some stories are also truly harrowing, whilst others might have you wanting to know why Sarah would take the case on.The book was riveting and I felt fully engaged the whole way through I do like criminal case stories, whether real or fictional, so this book was right up my alley It was an interesting look at the UK s criminal justice service and how it works I was surprised to learn how close to the court case that Sarah gets the paperwork, sometimes only a matter of hours before.Sarah s voice comes across so clear and she has a way of engaging the reader The words just flowed naturally and I would love to have read about cases as I was that intrigued in Sarah s legal world.


  3. says:

    I would like to thank the publishers Doubleday Books for sending me a physical ARC of In Your Defence in exchange for an honest review This one did take me a while to read but that was basically I found all of the case stories inspired by real life court cases extremely interesting The author herself works in law as a defence barrister and In Your Defence chronicles a selection of her most memorable cases from her time in the courtroom Some of them contained topics that were hard to read about since as rape, drugs and an abusive relationship but I liked how each case story got to the point and the majority of backstory was interesting to read about I appreciated the notes section at the back of my ARC copy which talks about various laws in greater detail, in a way that is easy to understand The pacing did drag a little but overall, it was a good real life experience and one I can recommend


  4. says:

    3.5 starsErm for me this was a book of two parts, there was the frustrated author air to this in parts, the wispy tendrils of the morning fog were ever evident on the cold ground But when you get to the meat and two veg of it this is a unique and thought provoking book that does not pull its punches The family Court chapters are particularly hard if you are a parent Worth a read when it comes out on paperback


  5. says:

    Fascinating book I ve always loved anything to do with the law and this makes for interesting reading Sarah Langford has been involved in a wide range of cases and shares 11 of them in this book, having changed some details to anonymise the people involved It gives a good look at the workings of both the criminal and family courts and how the smallest details can make all the difference It only loses a star because it has notes on the text, but I didn t realise til the end of the book as it s mentioned very briefly at the beginning and there are no references, numbers etc throughout the text Would have been better to reference it so you can read the notes as you re reading through the stories


  6. says:

    Great read I love British Law and the workings of it Interesting cases Enjoyed feeding the author s description of the court buildings set the scene perfectly.


  7. says:

    Highly interesting book, walks you through the opaque world of family and criminal court This book paints a realistic and appreciative view of parts of the UK legal system Highly appreciated reading about the chaos of families entering a system designed with lawyers and barristers at the heart, alone and representing themselves.Legal aid cuts mentioned throughout which is to be expected also like the reference to the ramshackle nature of many of our Magistrates Courts.Oddly enough I d even like to have seen about predictable fraud cases as the author put it, but I guess they made for a less interesting moral narrative.Very easy to read, definitely worth it if you want a slice of the moral and social dilemmas you encounter being family and criminal court barrister.


  8. says:

    An enjoyable read and an interesting insight into the judicial system My only negatives are that I d have preferred details about the cases and less about the author I know there were notes at the end but it would have made sense to me if these had been with the cases I also found some of the language, particularly at the end of chapters, a bit flowery If I could give this 3.5 stars I would.


  9. says:

    The antithesis of the simplistic tweet news headline culture, this is a careful, humane, eloquent, honest and actually loving description of the English legal system More specifically, In Your Defence is a contemporary account of the work of an ordinary Barrister, plying their trade in the run of the mill magistrate and Crown courts in the south of England, practising in criminal defence and the family courts Surprising in its ordinariness, the work described is far from the world of the elite, glamorous and very well paid QCs practising in the famous London courts Instead we re shown a picture of contemporary England through 11 cases and 11 clients that Sarah Langford has represented Not always an easy read as the heartbreaking and woeful scenarios are laid out, but in giving us such a descriptive and accessible account it feels that a public service has been delivered.


  10. says:

    Excellent, just excellent Beautifully written, poignant and rich and most importantly, legally correct This was most definitely written by someone whose eyes have been in the courtroom and experienced the law with such intimacy and to such an extent that no laypeople or even solicitors like myself can ever hope to ever come close.


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In Your Defence download In Your Defence , read online In Your Defence , kindle ebook In Your Defence , In Your Defence 54c3c388fd1d A Thoughtful, Elegant Book Often As Thrilling As A Detective Novel Thomas Grant, QC The TimesSarah 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