In Your Defence
Sarah Langford

Book cover image

Narrated By: Catherine Bailey

Duration: 8 hours and 10 minutes

What to expect

Random House presents the audiobook edition of In Your Defence by Sarah Langford, read by Catherine Bailey.

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.

To work at the Bar is to enter a world shrouded by strange clothing, archaic rituals and inaccessible language. So how does it feel to be an instrument of such an unknowable system? And what does it mean to be at its mercy? Our legal system promises us justice, impartiality and fair judgement. Does it, or can it, deliver this?

With remarkable candour, Sarah describes eleven cases which reveal what goes on in our criminal and family courts. She examines how she feels as she defends the person standing in the dock. She tells compelling stories - of domestic fall out, everyday burglary, sexual indiscretion, and children caught up in the law – that are sometimes shocking and often heart-stopping. She shows us how our attitudes and actions can shape not only the outcome of a case, but the legal system itself.

I loved this book. It made my heart sing. Written by a woman in the law with compassion, wit and legal know-how, these true life courtroom stories tell it like it is. - Helena Kennedy QC

Genre

Memoirs, Law & society, sociology of law, True crime, Legal profession: general, Criminal justice law, Law & society, gender issues

Listen to a sample

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.

The Times

[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.

Financial Times

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.

Observer

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.

Sunday Times

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.