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Lord Shawcross has had two careers: the law and politics. He excelled in both of them. He is unique in that he could have become, at different times, both Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice.
As Sir Hartley Shawcross, his name will forever be associated with the trials of the Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg in 1945. As Attorney General in the Labour Government under Clement Atlee, Sir Hartlev became Chief British Prosecutor in the most famous trial of the century. Nuremberg apart, there was a wide variety of sensational cases in which Sir Hartley acted either for the Crown or for the Defence.
He successfully prosecuted the traitor William Joyce, 'Lord Haw-Haw', whose treasonous broadcasts were of great value to the Nazis. He acted for the Crown in the infamous Acid Bath Murders, in which George Haigh disposed of his victims in a vat of sulphuric acid. The Lynsky Tribunal, the Profumo Affair and many other causes celebres are vividly described.
Sir Hartley's political friendships were not restricted to those in his own party. He was respected and admired, for example, by Churchill, and by Macmillan, who made him a Life Peer. He has been at the centre of great events for more than thirty years, years in which he has been sustained by an intensely happy family life in which, however, there has also been great tragedy. His memoirs are important, colourful and highly entertaining.