A comprehensive account of lawyer William Garrow’s life, career, family and connections. Sir William Garrow was born in Middlesex in 1760 and called to the Bar in 1783. He was the dominant figure at the Old Bailey from 1783 to 1793, later becoming an MP, Solicitor-General, Attorney-General and finally a judge and lawmaker within the Common Law Tradition. Sir William Garrow is a generous work in which well-known legal historian and biographer John Hostettler and family story-teller Richard Braby (a descendant of Garrow) combine their skills and experience to produce a gem of a book.
‘Without the pioneering work of William Garrow, the legal system would be stuck in the Middle Ages’: Radio Times
‘Right – hands up all those who have heard of William Garrow. Hmm, thought so – me neither. That will all change ….’ Frances Gibb’s Law Section, The Times
Aside from BBC1 TV’s prime-time drama series ‘Garrow’s Law’, the story of Sir William Garrow’s unique contribution to the development of English law and Parliamentary affairs is so far little known by the general public. This book tells the real story of the man behind the drama. Garrow is now in the public-eye for daring to challenge entrenched legal ways and means. His ‘gifts to the world’ include altering the relationship between judge and jury (the former had until then dominated over the latter in criminal trials), helping to forge the presumption of innocence and ensuring a general right to put forward a defence using a trained lawyer. He gave new meaning to the forensic art of cross-examination, later diverting skills honed as a radical to help the Crown when it was faced with plots, treason and revolution.The lost story of Sir William Garrow and its rediscovery will prove intriguing for professional and general readers alike and will be an invaluable ‘missing-link’ for legal and social historians. It is also a remarkable work of genealogical research which will register strongly with family historians.
‘A law book yes, but boring no, a delight to read’: Internet Law Book Reviews
‘A blockbuster of a book’: Phillip Taylor MBE of Richmond Green Chambers (Watch full review on YouTube and below)
‘[Hostettler and Braby’s] definitive biography… is informative, entertaining and a really good read, and in the process rescues Garrow from undeserved obscurity’: Littlehampton Gazette
John Hostettler was a practising solicitor in London for thirty-five years as well as undertaking political and civil liberties cases in Nigeria, Germany and Aden. His earlier books include several biographical and historical works, and his books for Waterside Press include: Thomas Erksine and Trial by Jury (2010); The Criminal Jury Old and New;
Fighting for Justice -The History and Origins of Adversary Trial; A History of Criminal Justice in England and Wales (2009); and Hanging in the Balance – A History of the Abolition of Capital Punishment in Britain (with Dr Brian P. Block). Richard Braby is a direct descendent of Sir William Garrow and as an avocation is a family story teller. He collects and preserves the stories of his family’s ancestors. Now retired, his career was conducting educational research during the emergence of the personal computer. Dr. Braby is an author of over 50 technical publications, and was a long time member of the Human Factors Society. Geoffrey Robertson QC is one of the United Kingdom’s leading members of the Bar and its advocates, with an international practice as founder and head of Doughty Street Chambers, London.