Sir William Garrow

Sir William Garrow : His Life, Times and Fight for Justice

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Sir William Garrow was born in Middlesex in 1760 and called to the Bar in 1783. He was the dominant figure at the Old Bailey from 1783 to 1793, later becoming an MP, Solicitor-General, Attorney-General and finally a judge and lawmaker within the Common Law Tradition. Garrow is now in the public-eye for daring to challenge entrenched legal ways and means. His 'gifts to the world' include altering the relationship between judge and jury (the former had until then dominated over the latter in criminal trials), helping to forge the presumption of innocence, rules of evidence and ensuring a general right to put forward a defence using a trained lawyer. He gave new meaning to the trial advocate's forensic art of cross-examination, later diverting skills honed as a radical to help the Crown when it was faced with alleged plots, treason and sedition. This is a generous work in which well-known legal historian and biographer John Hostettler and family story-teller Richard Braby (a descendant of Garrow) combine their skills and experience to produce a gem of a book.
The lost story of Sir William Garrow and its rediscovery will prove enlightening for professional and general readers alike and provide an invaluable 'missing-link' for legal and social historians. It is also a remarkable work of genealogical research which will register strongly with family historians.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 156 x 236 x 24mm | 621.42g
  • Winchester, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1904380557
  • 9781904380559
  • 755,127

Review quote

'A Law book yes, but boring no, a delight to read': Internet Law Book Reviews. 'Without the pioneering work of William Garrow, the legal system would be stuck in the Middle Ages': Radio Times 'Garrow can truely be said to have revolutionised the practice of criminal law': Geoffrey Robertson QC (from the Foreword). 'A blockbuster of a book': Phillip Taylor MBE of Richmond Green Chambers.'[Hostettler and Braby's] definitive biography ... is informative, entertaining and a really good read, and in the process rescues Garrow from undeserved obscurity': Littlehampton Gazette
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About John Hostettler

John Hostettler was a solicitor in London for thirty-five years as well as undertaking political and civil liberties cases in Nigeria, Germany and Aden. He played a lead role in the abolition of flogging in British colonial prisons and is a former magistrate. His earlier books embrace several biographical and historical works, including about the lives of Thomas Wakley, Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, Thomas Erskine, Sir Edward Carson, Sir Edward Coke, Lord Halsbury and Sir Matthew Hale. His books for Waterside Press include The Criminal Jury Old and New; Fighting for Justice: The History and Origins of Adversary Trial; Hanging in the Balance: A History of the Abolition of Capital Punishment in Britain (with Dr Brian P. Block); and, most recently, A History of Criminal Justice in England and Wales. Richard Braby is a direct descendent of Sir William Garrow and as an avocation is a family story teller. He collects and preserves the stories of his family's ancestors. Now retired, his career was conducting educational research during the emergence of the personal computer. Dr. Braby is an author of over 50 technical publications, and was a long time member of the Human Factors Society. He is a graduate of Columbia University, New York City where he specialized in the design of instructional materials. Geoffrey Robertson QC defended at the Old Bailey in such notable trials as that of Oz magazine, Peter Hain, John Stonehouse, the ABC Official Secrets case, Gay News and the Matrix Churchill 'Iraqgate' trial, as well as in IRA and other terrorist cases. He developed a pro bono practice defending at the Privy Council men condemned to death in Commonwealth courts. He is the founding head of Doughty Street Chambers, a Recorder and a bencher of the Middle Temple. He served as the First President of the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone and is a member of the UN Justice Council. His books include The Justice Game - a memoir of some of his notable trials - and The Tyrranicide Brief - an account of how Cromwell's lawyers brought the King to justice.
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Table of contents

Foreword Geoffrey Robertson QC. 1.Family Background 2.Education in Criminal Lawâ 3.Garrow and English Criminal Procedureâ 4.Early Trials 5.Adversary Trial and Human Rightsâ 6.Government Prosecutorâ 7.The Picton Trialsâ 8.Member of Parliament and Law Officerâ 9.Garrow vs. Brougham â 10.Judgeâ 11.Garrow's Homesâ 12.Sarah 13.Garrow's Will And Trust 14.Garrow's Extended Family â 15.Joseph Garrow's Literary Legacyâ 16.Published Storiesâ 17.Conclusionâ Timeline of William Garrow's Lifeâ APPENDIX 1: Garrow Genealogical Studies APPENDIX 2: A Snapshot of Crime and Punishment in the 1800s APPENDIX 3: Some Primary Sourcesâ Select bibliographyâ Index
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Rating details

22 ratings
4.13 out of 5 stars
5 50% (11)
4 23% (5)
3 18% (4)
2 9% (2)
1 0% (0)

Our customer reviews

THE REDISCOVERED LOST ADVOCATE As Geoffrey Robertson QC points out in the foreword to this now wildly popular biography of the lost advocate from Waterside Press - following the recent television series - William Garrow was the first great cross examiner at the English Bar who 'truly can be said to have revolutionized the practice of criminal law'. Before Garrow, (an advocate at an earlier incarnation of the "Old Bailey" for 10 years from 1783), the supposedly admirable edifice of English law which had evolved over several centuries, was deeply flawed. When Garrow began his practice, those charged with capital felony "could not be represented by counsel" - a state of affairs that would be deemed unimaginably appalling today. Even while this ancient anomaly was breaking down, counsel were still not allowed to address the jury on the prisoner's behalf. Garrow, almost singlehandedly we surmise, with his trenchant and aggressive adversarial skills, persuaded juries to acquit his often hapless clients, winning battles for them against unscrupulous bounty hunters whose income derived mainly from the blood money they 'earned' in accusing the innocent of crimes. The authors' stated purpose in the publication of this biography is 'to introduce the reader to the life of a remarkable man in the context of his time and family...and secondly to present him as the criminal lawyer who led the way in altering the whole relationship between the state and the individual by his role in the revolutionary introduction of adversary trial.' Garrow helped revolutionise criminal trial procedure - a process of which he, and certainly his contemporaries, were only dimly aware, but which would lead inevitably to reinforcing and extending the principles of justice and fair treatment which are at the heart of current human rights legislation. As the authors have observed, "adversariality", 'with its lasting impact on worldwide jurisprudence has been 'a contributing factor in the establishment of a culture of human rights'. So, even if you've seen the excellent TV series, do read this 170 page book anyway and immerse yourself in the wealth of factual information and comment in the 17 chapters which will give you breadth to the birth of modern advocacy. Much of the information in the 3 appendices sources at the back has been gleaned from original documents, many quoted verbatim and there is an excellent timeline which gives biographical perspective. Also, there are startling insights into Garrow's family life and any number of references made to the social and political issues of the time in which he was involved and the injustices against which he fought, from slavery to animal cruelty. Following his ten year career as a young barrister of note, Garrow became a Member of Parliament and later Solicitor General, Attorney General, judge and lawmaker. As Attorney General, it was Garrow who had overall responsibility for the trial and conviction in 1817 of John Hannay, a slave trader, after the passage of the Slave Trade Abolition Act of 1807. Following the efforts of William Wilberforce and others to secure such a law, 'we must conclude', say the authors, 'that it was finally implemented by William Garrow.' John Hostettler and Richard Braby (a direct descendent of Garrow) have written a blockbuster of a book, avidly perused not just by the legal fraternity, but by the general public. We now wait expectantly and anxiously for the next TV series as this rediscovered lost advocate is now, rightly, a distinguished 21st century star, two hundred years on, and we are the better for it as the advocacy of the past is more
by Phillip Taylor MBE
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