Barrington Black was for many years one of the UK’s best-known criminal defence lawyers and founder of a solicitor’s firm in Leeds now commemorated in the name of a practice known as Black’s. He was later a Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate and Circuit Judge in the Crown Court before becoming a Supreme Court Justice in Gibraltar.
Both Sides of the Bench charts his life, legal and judicial progress and his contributions as legal expert to such programmes as BBC TV Look North and Yorkshire Television’s Calendar. Always in demand due to his reputation as a reliable defence solicitor, he was sought out by among others the serial killer Donald Neilson also known as the Black Panther as well as being involved in other high profile cases. His accounts of these and other fascinating cases from his life as a lawyer and judge form the main parts of this compelling book which also looks at his early life, political ambitions and time in the army when he was involved in Courts Martial. It also takes readers behind the scenes to show what it is like to establish and run a legal practice as it grows and develops and contains insights into the normally private and behind the scenes world of the judiciary.
Written by one of the UK’s best-remembered defence lawyers, Both Sides of the Bench takes readers behind the scenes of life as a busy lawyer, judge and family man. A valuable social history due to its descriptive passages of parts of London and England and Wales the book also contains criticisms of the way criminal defence is at-risk of dilution.
‘Interesting and entertaining … His story is told with skill and tact’- The Law Society Gazette.
‘A joy’- The Jewish Chronicle.
‘Filled with anecdotes and observations from a lifetime in court that will be of interest to any practising or student lawyer. There is much to learn from Mr Justice Black’s anecdotes, which are often laced with dark humour and dry wit… The book is lined with nuggets of practical advice that any criminal lawyer will find useful’- Gibraltar Chronicle.
‘An excellent set of views and opinions from a leading well-known and controversial lawyer of our time’- Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers.
Watch the five minute interview with Barrington Black at the launch of Both Sides of the Bench: GBC interview with Barrington Black (9 minutes 15 seconds into the video).
‘The bridewell… housed the cells and interview rooms… All the prisoners shared a common cell area, and when the door from the police counter opened to let a solicitor into the interview room to see a client who had called upon him, many faces gathered at the cell gate to see if he had come for them. It was not unusual… that the client who had asked for me was asked for the name of his solicitor on his return, and when I crossed the road back to my office, I had a call from the police saying, “There’s another one or two or even more, who are asking for you.”
(Replaces ISBN 9781909976269).