Video: Jeremy Hutchinson Case Histories

Posted on 16th February 2016 by Sally Campbell
Jeremy Hutchinson, the famous Q.C., shares stories from his colourful history plus his reaction to the new book detailing his case histories

Born in 1915, Jeremy Hutchinson had an illustrious career as a barrister, defending some of the most infamous court cases of the 1960's, '70's and 80's. The new book Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories, by Thomas Grant, is a fascinating read for anyone who wishes to learn more about the influence court rulings have on society at large. It is also fascinating for lovers of theatre, as Hutchinson's word play and wit are bard-like.

In the following video, Jeremy Hutchinson talks of the time he ran as a Labour candidate and canvassed 10 Downing Street:

Here, Hutchinson describes the attributes necessary in being a barrister:

Below are Hutchinson's reflections on the genisis of the book:

When Thomas Grant first approached me with the idea of writing this book my reaction was equivocal. I believe that the life of the criminal advocate is enjoyably ephemeral. No memorial is left behind and in the words of the greatest advocate of my time, Norman Birkett: 'The thing said can never be separated from the moment of its saying or from the person saying it and any attempt to recapture the fire and glow of past moments is foredoomed to failure.' Tom was persistent. 'Many of your cases throw light on a period of revolutionary change in society, and surely the record would be of lasting interest to your family.' Hard work has never been my idea of life in my nineties but nonetheless I agreed.

The writing, research and choice of case have been entirely Tom's. My part has been to dig out what documents and memories I still retain, to live up to the high standard of accuracy demanded, and to enjoy what has been a rejuvenating walk down memory lane.

No one becomes a criminal barrister to make large sums of money. A criminal practice has always been the least well paid and of the lowest status at the Bar. Yet in my opinion the rewards arc of the greatest. You practise in circumstances that seriously affect your fellow human being; in their personal and everyday lives. Your clients are of every kind, privileged or deprived, bewildered and weak, or streetwise and strong. Each day you are coping with judges, magistrates, witnesses, police officers and your colleagues, and above all the jury, that great organ of the disestablishment and pillar of our democracy. You are confronted with their foibles, prejudices and demands. You are privileged in your work; privileged because, first, it falls to you to uphold at all times the principles of justice and the rule of law, and, second, unreservedly to uphold the interests of your client whose case becomes yours. You share for a short time the intimate life of a person in extremis and stripped bare whose reputation, livelihood or liberty have been placed in your hands.


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