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'Disaster in Law, writes Stephen Tumim, 'does not usually strike with a swoosh or a thud but with a few ill-chosen words.'
This collection of anecdotes skims over some three hundred years of legal history, pinpointing the moment of disaster in court cases famous and unknown - and the subsequent embarrassment of judge, counsel, prisoner, witness, even the system itself.
Splendid eccentricities in both the law and lawyers provide the perfect setting for mishaps and misunderstandings, the absurd nature of which will appeal to anyone who follows the antics of the judiciary.
From the use of four-letter words in Sir Walter Raleigh's trial for treason to the petulant fury of Lord Alfred Douglas in the witness-box, Stephen Tumim captures the calamitous exchange that throws a trial off the tracks, and reveals a lighter side of a profession nowadays thought to be wholly serious.