A bit of Garrow’s Law on BBC Radio4

December 28, 2012

Hello everyone,

First, let me that you for your kind words about the show. It’s appreciated. I’m only sorry that we’re not able to bring you more of Mr Garrow’s exploits!

For those of you in the UK, you might find it interesting to listen to the following episode of the Radio 4 show “Unreliable Evidence”  which was broadcast on BBC Radio4 on Boxing Day. Here is the link.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pg54x

I took part in the show, hosted by former lawyer Clive Anderson along with Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, appeal court judge Sir Alan Moses, and German judge Ruth Herz.  We had a great chat about the drama of the court, and courtroom drama – I talked about Garrow’s Law, and they played a clip too! We also had a broader discussion about the theatricality of the law.

I hope you find it interesting. Sorry for those of you who are not in the UK.

“With its sets and costumes, soliloquies, suspense and dramatic revelations – the courtroom is pure theatre.

Following the return of Rumpole to Radio 4, Clive Anderson and his guests discuss how accurately the legal world is depicted in stage and screen dramas. And they discuss the issues which arise when the distinctions between fiction and fact – between Rumpole and reality – become blurred in the public’s mind.

Does the way courtroom dramas introduce dramatic last minute evidence, show defendants crumbling under cross-examination and defence barristers reducing juries to tears, even remotely reflect the real world? Are judges really as out of touch, and lawyers as pompous and greedy as their screen counterparts? And does it really matter if screenwriters fail to stick to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”

 

best wishes

Mark Pallis

 

 


From Crime to Punishment – part 2

October 27, 2009

If there were no watchmen around, there was no choice other than to run after the criminal yourself.  If you discovered a felony, you were legally obliged to apprehend those responsible and notify the constable.  Also, if a constable was trying to catch a felon, he could require people to join the ‘hue and cry’.

In this case, a man explains the steps he took to catch the highwayman:

This isn’t a Garrow case and it shows you just how swift and harsh the justice was.  No defence counsel, not even a prosecution.  Basically, the judge was in charge and played all the parts …

http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t17830115-6&div=t17830115-6&terms=stop|theif|garrow#highlight


Mark Pallis speaking on Garrow in London

October 26, 2009

Hi,

If you enjoy Episode One of Garrow’s Law on Sunday and want to find out more, you can come and catch me giving a lecture on William Garrow at the Legal Biography Project of the London School of Economics on 3rd November from 1800h – 1930h . For more details:  http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/law/projects/legalbiog/lbp.htm

Hope to see you there!  Mark


From Crime to Punishment – part 1

October 26, 2009

In this category of blogs, I am going to set out what happened from the moment a crime was committed right up until the person was sentenced.  But I won’t tell the story myself, I’ll leave it to the people who actually experienced it ….

A common way for crimes to be detected is that a Night Watchman would hear or see something.  Have a look at the case of Henry Morgan 15 September 1784, we hear from a Watchman examined by Garrow in the Old Bailey.

http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t17840915-1&div=t17840915-1&terms=stop|theif|garrow#highlight

Tomorrow, we’ll see how Victims could also bring cases ….

Mark Pallis


Garrow’s London

October 23, 2009

Garrow’s law is set in London at the end of the 1700s.  It was quite a time to be alive:  the American Revolutionary War had just ended, leaving thousands of disgruntled British soldiers looking for work; the had been a revolution in France, and back in England there winds of change were starting to blow.  People were starting to talk about rights, and about democracy. The movement to end slavery was getting going, women, like Mary Wollstonecraft, were asserting themselves and talking about the rights of women.  And reform was in the air, people were getting frustrated with the corruption in parliament and were hungry for change.

And all this was being played out in a new public arena.  There had been an explosion of newspapers and journals:

  • In 1770, London has 5 daily papers;
  • In the 1780s, it had 9 dailies, 8 tri-weeklys and 9 weeklys;
  • In the 1790s, it had 14 dailies, 7 tri-weeklys and 2 weeklys.

But whilst there was change on one side, on the other the ruling classes were battening down the hatches and steeling themselves.  They were quite with things as they were thank you very much!

Mark Pallis