SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
'A thoughtful, elegant book. ... often as thrilling as a detective novel. ' - Thomas Grant, QC The Times.
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.
With remarkable candour, Sarah describes eleven cases which reveal what goes on in our criminal and family courts: these are tales of domestic fall out, everyday burglary, sexual indiscretion, and children caught up in the law. They are sometimes shocking and they are often heart-stopping. She examines how she feels as she defends the person standing in the dock. She also shows us how our attitudes and actions can shape not only the outcome of a case, but the legal system itself.
"Sarah Langford has reinvented a genre ... [as a barrister she has turned] her experience of 11 criminal cases into short stories that are as compelling as fiction, with the added fascination of being essentially true ... Immensely powerful."
"A compelling read for anyone who cares about fairness, justice and humanity and should be on the reading list of all politicians and policy-makers."
"[Langford] combines the demands of her job, the stories of those she represents and her own views and emotions with great skill...powerful, moving and often captivating."
"Vivid... surprisingly uplifting. A thoughtful, elegant book. ... it is often as thrilling as a detective novel. And sometimes it is moving: the last chapter had this reviewer in tears."
"A riveting account of cases she's fought over nearly 10 years in the family courts. These are harrowing stories: of newborns taken by social services, of bitter divorces, of children trapped in the turbulence of addiction, gangs, or both, an unprecedented collection, moving, enraging and desperate, all told in Langford's cool, compelling prose."