Stephen Bates

Judge, Jury & Executioner

Court Number One: The Old Bailey Trials That Defined Modern Britain


John Murray 448pp £25 order from our bookshop

Britain’s most famous criminal courtroom, Court Number One at the Old Bailey, can seem surprisingly intimate. The decor is heavy and Edwardian, with the dock only a few feet behind the barristers’ desk and the witness box almost within touching distance of the jury – or at least that is how it seemed to me when I occasionally covered trials there. Then, when I was researching a book a few years ago, a friendly barrister showed me up onto the judges’ bench, where the perspective was very different. Their comfortably padded chairs seemed lofty and remote. You could see how, looking down to the lawyers far below and across the void to the accused, judges might be carried away by their eminence.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'I don’t think we’re here on Earth to be Happy. I think we’re here on Earth to help God. I am a messianic writer'.… ,
    • 'Darley’s book is not a mad dash through this most compelling and complex of English counties. Nor is it another ti… ,
    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,