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Prior to his retirement, the Honourable Sir Oliver Popplewell was a distinguished High Court judge for nearly twenty years and was involved in a number of celebrated cases over the course of his long career. He subsequently returned to university to take a degree in PPE at Harris Manchester College as Oxford's oldest undergraduate.
The second volume of his memoirs, Hallmark: A Judge's Life at Oxford, is also published by I.B. Tauris.
Sir Oliver Popplewell's career goes a long way to explode myths and to show what judges are really like: impartial, skilled in the law, above party politics certainly, but essentially human. He was certainly born into a comfortable middle-class family, but his upbringing was (to quote from Stephen Fry's Foreword to this book) 'more Betjeman Metroland than Wodehouse Mayfair'.
Sir Oliver was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple and a successful career at the junior bar and on the Oxford and Midland Circuit culminated in his becoming a QC and his subsequent elevation to the High Court Bench. Various high profile cases followed involving public figures - Jonathan Aitken, Lawrence Dallaglio, the England rugby captain, or the sprinter Linford Christie in Christie v McVicar, the editor of "Spike" magazine - and the public enquiry into the tragic fire at the Bradford City football ground.