In Your Defence by Sarah Langford #BookReview


Author: Sarah Langford

Genre: Memoir / Biography

Format: Hardcover 320 pages

Release Date: 28 June 2018

Publisher: Doubleday

I purchased a copy of this book after reading some really good reviews.


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.

My Thoughts

I already knew before I opened the front page of this book that I would enjoy it. I find the law absolutely fascinating, and despite working in criminal law myself and having a good working knowledge of the criminal justice system and the law that governs it, I always find it incredibly interesting to hear about others experiences. 

This book is separated into different ‘cases’ following the authors experience of that particular case and how it made her view the law in a slightly different way each time. I really enjoyed how the book was split into different sections in this way because each new ‘case/chapter’ is like starting a whole new book. Obviously names, places and any other identifying factors have been changed to protect client privilege, however, you would never guess. 

Sarah writes in such an open and honest manner about how she felt during these cases and in particular her closing few pages in the final chapter I could personally really relate to. I absolutely loved this book and despite never reading books twice, this is the kind of book that in a few years I could definitely see myself re-reading and enjoying again as if it were the first time. 

About the Author

After completing a degree in English Literature Sarah worked as a barmaid, legal secretary and note-taking clerk before completing a law conversion course followed by the Bar Vocational Course.  She qualified as a barrister in 2005.  Sarah gained pupillage and then tenancy in a barristers’ chambers with an annex in the city where she grew up.

For more reviews and updates you can follow me on Twitter @BooksBucks

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Wonderful review sounds like a fascinating read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Nicki. It really is!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for including me 😊


  2. Great review! I’m currently listening to The Secret Barrister by Jack Hawkins, I think this one would make a good audiobook too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read the secret barrister a while back. It was one of the first reviews I wrote on my blog! Definitely check out this one at some point if you enjoy what you’re currently listening to as they’re both really good reads


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