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Just Law Paperback – 3 Mar 2005


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Just Law + Eve Was Framed: Women and British Justice + The Rule of Law
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (3 Mar. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099458330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099458333
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 221,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Remarkable - a passionate, cogent and eloquent defence of the idea of law as the framework for a just society... Vitally important" (Financial Times)

"Highly readable... Startlingly topical" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Powerful and prescient" (Daily Telegraph)

"This is a good book, well-written, pacey and to the point" (Sunday Times)

"Admirable... Without Helena Kennedy's passionate defence of the rule of law we might be completely in the hands of an uncaring government" (Daily Mail)

Book Description

'Comes the hour. Comes the book. If Kennedy can't stir a reaction, then nobody can' Observer

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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dr. R. G. Bullock on 4 Dec. 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Helena Kennedy is a barrister who sits on the Labour benches in the House of Lords. From a working class background, she has made her way to the top of her profession. She believes passionately in human rights and their central position in a healthy democracy and this book sprang from her alarm and despondency at what the Blair government is doing to those rights under the legal system. The attack on our right to a trial by jury raises her anger, and her contempt for those who should be her political soulmates is obvious. She asks why we lock up so many of our children in deplorable conditions - we have more in custody than any of our European partners. The antisocial exclusion orders do not please her either. Not because she is a "whinging, bleeding-heart liberal" but because it flouts the principles of our law. Exclusion orders are issued on the basis of the balance of probabilities, as in civil law. Guilt does not depend on the issue being established beyond reasonable doubt. Yet flouting of the orders can result in a prison sentence for up to five years.
So supposed miscreants can be put away for a substantial time on the lesser degree of proof. There has already been evidence of neighbours using the procedure to get back at people they dislike. Kennedy sees this as unjust yet it has hardly been noticed yet alone discussed in the media.
Other subjects she discusses are imprisonment without trial in terrorist crimes and the divulging of past offences to a jury before they consider their verdict in a court case. All her arguments are based on long-established tenets of our judicial system. Tony Blair says that the balance is tipped too far against the victims of crime. What he does not say is that the accused are innocent until proved guilty.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Budge Burgess on 24 Oct. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Helena Kennedy has earned a just reputation as an advocate for personal liberty and the defence of human rights. It was inevitable, given her legal skills and prominence, that she should be drawn into the New Labour, Blairite diaspora and a political machine which liked to surround its leader with celebrity. It was probably equally inevitable that she should see through Blair's politics and voice her disillusion clearly and concisely.
In "Just Law", Kennedy begins by looking at eighteen "inroads into our liberty" - the disturbing propensity for Blair's Ministers to question the law, seek to override it, and establish executive powers of their own. On the one hand, the Westminster Parliament has signed up to the human rights agenda, on the other, the Cabinet seems determined to keep liberties circumscribed and under its control. Of course, a Prime Minister who is prepared to lie about the reasons for war in Iraq and simply ignore public opinion is a politician who is more interested in having his way than leading the way.
Kennedy points out that Blair is not a liberal - she identifies a strong authoritarian dynamic in his personality and politics. He is obsessed by spin, obsessed with giving everything a rosy feel. He wants to be seen as a nice guy. But he's on his way to creating 1,000 new criminal offences since coming to power and has demonstrated an ability to orchestrate the tabloid headlines to press for new laws and new powers to fight ... well, whoever he identifies as the cause of the next moral panic he leads.
Kennedy demonstrates that law is ultimately about politics. It is also about values and rights, and if we submit to the bullying and allow the politicians to write laws to safeguard and promote their own powers, we shouldn't be surprised if our own rights are eroded.
A disturbing analysis from a very bright, passionate, and determined lawyer, one which deserves a wider reading.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K. Abraham on 16 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
The best bits in the book are Kennedy's views on current anti terror laws. She is clearly one of the most informed and intellegent human rights advocates that we have in the UK. One should be thankful for people as passionate as Kennedy who works in the justice department and stands as a sobering opposite to the drunken and shabby policies of politicians who rush through draconian and unpopular laws which threaten civil liberties.
The unjust treatment of Black and ethnic minorities by the police force, especially in the larger urban areas, is also well worth the read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Laura Brown on 17 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
and i find this book fascinating. honestly though, you don't need to be any kind of law student, even a basic knowledge of law is to a degree, unnecessary. Helena kennedy's writing style is simplistic and sarcastic, making it a good read for the trian of the sofa. honestly worth a read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ripsmum on 29 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an admirer of Helena Kennedy I just had to get this book. She is an inspiration and always make what can seem a dry or confusing subject not just tangible but interesting and inspiring.
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