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In this book, based on the 48th series of Hamlyn Lectures, Lord Cooke focuses on four great cases which were all major turning points in the development of the common law. In each instance he examines the effect at the time, subsequent developments in case law and academic opinion, and the respective advantages of decisions in Commonwealth jurisdictions such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
The cases cover the areas of public law, crime, tort and company law. The analysis of each is that of a practising judge interested primarily in how ""leading judicial craftsmen have solved problems"".