National Life Stories: Legal Lives

Photograph of the Royal Courts of Justice. Image courtesy of James Petts, Wikipedia Commons
Royal Courts of Justice. Image courtesy of James Petts/Wikipedia Commons

Legal Lives is an ongoing National Life Stories project which comprises interviews with lawyers, solicitors and barristers with the aim to document changes in the legal profession in Britain.

Published date:

Legal Lives

Legal Lives interviewees include Lord Bridge and Peter Goldsmith (former Attorney General of England and Wales), Lady Hale (the first female Law Lord) and barrister Sir Sydney Kentridge QC.

In 2015 Chris Monaghan from the University of Greenwich completed an in-depth scoping study to help shape a major project in this area.

NLS are exploring potential funders and collaborators and would actively welcome interested parties to contact NLS Director Rob Perks.

Crown Court Clerks Life Story Interviews

‘Exploring the social world of Crown Court clerks from the 1970s onwards’ is a collaborative doctoral research project between National Life Stories and the London School of Economics (LSE) Legal Biography Project, and will serve to create an archive of life stories of Crown Court clerks.

Though Crown Court clerks play a pivotal role in regional trials of the most serious criminal offences such as murder, rape and burglary, little has been written about them to date. The clerk of the court sits at the bench below the judge and is responsible for ensuring that cases are heard and the court runs smoothly. 

In-depth life story interviews with former Crown Court clerks who worked in courts throughout England and Wales are currently being conducted to gain insight into clerks’ lives, the lived world of the legal system, shifts in local legal cultures and changes in the way that regional justice has been conceived of and experienced.

A key focus of the research is examining the changing nature of the administration of justice during the 1970s. In particular, older and retired court clerks describe the historic shift that occurred when the ancient Assize system that had operated in England and Wales for almost 800 years was abolished and replaced by a new network of Crown Courts.

The research is being carried out by PhD student Dvora Liberman, supervised by NLS director Dr Rob Perks, and co-director of LSE’s Legal Biography Project, Professor Linda Mulcahy.


National Life Stories

A unique and invaluable record of people’s lives in Britain today

National Life Stories Goodison Fellowship

This award of £5,000 allows the Goodison Fellow a period of sustained engagement with the oral history collections in order to share the results in public domain.

All projects

Collection guides

Oral histories of the legal system

Oral history interviews with those involved in the legal and criminal justice system