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Eric Stockdale left school at 14 and went to work in wartime London. After two years in the post-war Army he was called to the Bar at the age of 21 and appointed a Circuit judge shortly after his 43rd. birthday. He took early retirement at 65 and then heard Criminal Injuries Compensation appeals for ten years.
When he became a barrister in 1950 he was a young man with an unusual background, which included ‘a pathetic attempt’ (his words) to follow several relatives into journalism. After his failure to break into Fleet Street, Eric Stockdale decided to earn his living from chambers in the adjoining Temple.
His ability to write led to the publication of many articles, followed by books on criminal justice and historical topics, culminating with two works inspired by the links of many leaders of the American Revolution with his own Inn of Court, the Middle Temple.
Chapter 6 on Blackstone Press recounts his part in the creation of Blackstone's Criminal Practice, alongside Alaistair Macqueen, Peter Murphy and a host of others.
As this book is about his experiences as a legal author, it also deals briefly with his life in the law and describes how he became interested in the different subjects about which he wrote. Sir Igor Judge, in his Foreword, comments: ‘This is a remarkable story by any standards,’ and adds, ‘much is written humorously.’ The reader, whether lawyer or layman, is likely to concur with that judgment.