The Rule Of Law

The two QCs revealed the drama that unfolds behind the doors of one of Britain's best known buildings, The Old Bailey. 

"There's no other courtroom in the entire world that acts as a vortex of a nation's history," said Grant of the court in London. 

From obscenity and libel cases to murder and state secrets, their book Court Number One: The Old Bailey Trials That Define Modern Britain (Grant) and Case Histories (Robertson) explore how justice has been dealt with across the years and how it has changed. In their talk they analysed the internal workings of the system. "The trial is a fragile construct," said Robertson, "It has to be kept very carefully under the rules. It does sometimes go wrong." 

Touching on some of the biggest cases in British history - from Ruth Ellis to Madame Fahey - they explored how the events of the Old Bailey have reflected the society of the day. "The trials that take place there do seem to reflect the themes of the 20th century," said Grant of his research. 

Reacting to the current legal system in the United Kingdom, they discussed how cuts to legal aid are quashing the barrister profession. "The criminal bar is dying at the moment because it's impossible to make not even a decent living but a living," said Grant. 

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Photograph by Morgan Williams