Reviews

Justice Online: just as good? Joshua Rozenberg on the online court

Giving the first of three annual talks on the creation of the online court, Joshua Rozenberg painted an optimistic vision of a future in which civil litigation would become fast, efficient and affordable to all. Surveying the chequered history of courts modernisation over the last 30 years, he explained why it was hoped this particular government IT project would succeed where so many others seemed to have failed. The talk was largely drawn from Joshua’s recent e-book, The Online …

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Book review: The Modern Judge by Sir Mark Hedley

Based on a series of public lectures given in 2015, this little gem of a book on the modern art of judging should be required reading for anyone seriously interested in law and the judicial system. As a former High Court and before that circuit judge, Sir Mark Hedley brings to his reflections a vast experience of criminal, civil and especially family cases. His observations on his role as a judge are timely and illuminating. Review by Paul …

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Brexit: what the hell happens now? Book review

The Brexit vote took the nation by surprise. For those who voted to Leave, exiting from the EU can’t happen fast enough. But few seem to appreciate what is actually involved in achieving this. Ian Dunt’s book examines the options and implications, and makes clear that the referendum result was only the start of a long period of discussions, negotiations, decisions and agreements which will take years, if not decades, to conclude. Review by Paul Magrath.

Brexit: what the …

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Rillington Place — Psycho-Pathé News meets Dr Stranglelove

The BBC’s three-part dramatisation of the tale of one of Britain’s most notorious serial killers was creepily authentic in its characterisation and atmosphere, but the mini-series left more questions than answers, says Paul Magrath in this review.

Here’s something a bit spooky. Some years ago, a friend of mine who lives in Notting Hill attempted to get a taxi home to her flat. The driver took her to the entrance to the road, …

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Book review: The Heirs of Owain Glyndŵr by Peter Murphy

Paul Magrath reviews a mesmerising new courtroom thriller in which Peter Murphy’s ambitious barrister hero Ben Schroeder takes on a challenging case involving a Welsh nationalist bomb plot. All the details of barristerial life, the rules of ethics and evidence, and the courtroom procedure appropriate for the 1960s period setting are pitch perfect. Yet is also raises very contemporary questions about the roots of radicalism, the motivation for terrorism and the conduct of the security services in combatting it.

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Law Podcasts: a selection

Podcasts are a great way of keeping up to date with radio programmes about law, but they can also deliver a series of instalments of a longer, more detailed or complex narrative. They’re easy to download and store on a smartphone or other device, using one of the dedicated apps. (I use the Podcasts app on iOS.) This post discusses some of the podcasts on law or crime that I’ve followed over the last couple of years and would …

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If music be the food of law, plead on…

The Little Book of Music Law, by Amber Nicole Shavers. Reviewed by Paul Magrath.

 

As demonstrated by the recent litigation over claims that one of the most famous rock anthems of all time, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, was partly filched from another song, the opportunities for legal disputes in the world of music are many and varied.

In that case it was also somewhat spooky that the claim was being made from …

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Book review – Marshall Hall: A Law unto Himself

As one of the most famous criminal defence barristers who ever practised in England and Wales, Sir Edward Marshall Hall KC MP makes a fascinating subject for a new biography, and Sally Smith QC, who took a year out of her own busy practice to write this book, more than does him justice.

Paul Magrath was at the book’s launch at the Old Bailey, where some of Marshall Hall’s most famous cases were lost or won, and …

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Book review: Death by Dangerous, by Olly Jarvis

Imagine being accused of something heinous and not knowing whether you did it or not, and not being able to trust anyone to help you find out what really happened and why. That’s the situation John Anderson, a leading prosecutor in Manchester chambers, on the verge of taking silk, finds himself in at the start of Olly Jarvis’ novel, Death by Dangerous. Review by Paul Magrath.

Anderson wakes in hospital to learn that he has been …

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The Crime Museum

The Crime Museum is a collection of objects and documents preserved by the police from crimes they have investigated. It used to be called the Police Museum and is based at New Scotland Yard. A selection of its contents forms the basis of an exhibition currently (until 10 April 2016) on display at the Museum of London. Paul Magrath went to see it.

The Police Museum began, some time in the 1870s, from a collection of …

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