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New year, new legal read

New year, new legal read

Neide Lemos


If you’re about to start a law degree, want a good starting point in the field or simply want something new to read, then pick up a law-themed book. Read on for a lighter selection than what you might find on your university’s reading list but perhaps some of the most relatable, gripping reads in the legal field.

The Rule of Law by Tom Bingham

A book for all lovers of law and politics. Bingham explores the rule of law that is the foundation of our society. He discusses the strains between parliamentary sovereignty and the rule of law. He then contests the views of Lord Steyn and Lord Hope that there are no limits to parliamentary sovereignty and that it is capable of being modified by common law. This will give you a great insight into the eight principles of the UK’s unwritten constitution. If you want to get a head start on the public law module then look no further. I highly recommend this for anyone interested in the legal profession and current affairs.

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

One of the greatest, classic storytellers. Bleak House traces the fictional case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce in the Court of Chancery. An estate case where an ongoing will dispute leads to collateral consequences, as it leaves the beneficiaries without a penny. Not only does it demonstrate archaic traditions, but also the technicalities of the legal system.   

The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken by The Secret Barrister

From a young age, you have probably been told that you are more argumentative than your peers. So, what more could you need than a book that centres around the realities of the glamorised courtroom? It’s a great place to start if you want to know more about the criminal justice system through the thought-provoking, first-hand account of the Secret Barrister. This is an eye-opening account that addresses the injustice that many people face. A raw insight into the underfunded, chaotic system that inspires us all to re-evaluate the rule of law. Law student or not, this book is a must-read.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel centres around the US’ criminal legal system and demonstrates race relations in 1930s America. It follows the trial of a young African American man who is shunned by everyone after being accused of attacking a woman. He is soon called to be represented by Atticus Finch, a criminal barrister, who focuses on the good part of people in each situation. This novel is very good at equipping you with an understanding that great evidence and defence does not always lead to a winning case. It combines issues of racism, prejudice and justice to explore human morality. For decades, this novel has remained a discussion point.

In Black and White: A Young Barrister's Story of Race and Class in a Broken Justice System by Alexandra Wilson

Within this book, Alexander narrates the inequality of race and class in our justice system. As she highlights the obstacles she faces, systematic problems, and the lack of diversity in the justice system, we hear the story of mistaken identity and the criminalisation of black people. This book naturally challenges the stereotypical perception of black people in our society. What makes this book even more gripping, is that it forces us to ask ourselves, how are we going to solve this?