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Court Number One

Court Number One

‘These tales of eleven trials are shocking, squalid, titillating and illuminating: each of them says something fascinating about how our society once was’ The Times

‘A hamper of treats … Grant is a master at conveying the cut-and-thrust of cross-examination’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Deceptively thrilling’ Sunday Times

Excellent . . . Thomas Grant offers detailed accounts of 11 cases at the Old Bailey’s Court Number One, with protagonists ranging from the diabolical to the pathetic. There is humour . . . but this is ultimately an affecting study of how the law gets it right – and wrong’ Guardian

Court Number One of the Old Bailey is the most famous court room in the world, and the venue of some of the most sensational human dramas ever to be played out in a criminal trial.

The principal criminal court of England, historically reserved for the more serious and high-profile trials, Court Number One opened its doors in 1907 after the building of the ‘new’ Old Bailey. In the decades that followed it witnessed the trials of the most famous and infamous defendants of the twentieth century. It was here that the likes of Madame Fahmy, Lord Haw Haw, John Christie, Ruth Ellis, George Blake (and his unlikely jailbreakers, Michael Randle and Pat Pottle), Jeremy Thorpe and Ian Huntley were defined in history, alongside a wide assortment of other traitors, lovers, politicians, psychopaths, spies, con men and – of course – the innocent.

Not only notorious for its murder trials, Court Number One recorded the changing face of modern British society, bearing witness to alternate attitudes to homosexuality, the death penalty, freedom of expression, insanity and the psychology of violence. Telling the stories of twelve of the most scandalous and celebrated cases across a radically shifting century, this book traces the evolving attitudes of Britain, the decline of a society built on deference and discretion, the tensions brought by a more permissive society and the rise of trial by mass media.

From the Sunday Times bestselling author of Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories, Court Number One is a mesmerising window onto the thrills, fears and foibles of the modern age.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Law / Laws Of Specific Jurisdictions / Criminal Law & Procedure / Criminal Justice Law

On Sale: 30th May 2019

Price: £25

ISBN-13: 9781473651623

Reviews

A hamper of treats, a series of beautifully judged vignettes ... Grant excels himself ... He is a master at conveying the cut-and-thrust of cross-examination, managing to maintain a sense of speed while making sure the reader does not miss the cultural or legal context. His style is drily witty, but just when you start to think he is a bit too detached from what are, after all, matters of life and death, he soars into a rhetorical flight ... Very moving
Sunday Telegraph
Grant's recipe and presentation are irresistible . . . Thomas Grant ensures that we understand Lord Hutchinson's achievements and the importance of the principles of criminal defence advocacy to a free society
David Pannick QC, The Times
At first glance, you might wonder how interesting a book about a lawyer can be. But once you open the pages of this one, you'll be instantly hooked . . . Totally terrific
Daily Mail
Thrilling
The Times
The Old Bailey might be a Jacobean theatre, at times. But like this deceptively thrilling book, it also stands for something very serious
Sunday Times
All these cases make thoroughly good reading, while vividly illuminating the morals and mores of that now distant period just a generation ago
Financial Times
Praise for Jeremy Hutchinson's Case Histories
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Not just a celebration of a brilliant legal career but also a history of changing mores in Britain
Daily Telegraph
A brilliant and absorbing book about the life of a barrister. And what a life
Evening Standard
Biographies of lawyers are very rare, but Hutchinson's career was so unusually varied that it makes a splendid subject for a book . . . [Grant's] book is clearly and elegantly written, turning Hutchinson's life into a satisfying moral history of 20th-century Britain
Dominic Sandbrook, Literary Review
Excellent . . . Thomas Grant offers detailed accounts of 11 cases at the Old Bailey's Court Number One, with protagonists ranging from the diabolical to the pathetic. There is humour . . . but this is ultimately an affecting study of how the law gets it right - and wrong
Guardian
Elegantly depicted cases, each giving vivid background to the crimes committed, the character of the protagonists and the mindset of the day
Strong Words