The book opens with a comprehensive description of his family background, which was very influential on his later life, starting with the arrival of his grandparents as Jewish immigrants to England in 1870. His recollections of his early years and family, education and life as a student lead into his early career as a barrister and as a Treasury Devil, moving on to his judicial career and the many roles taken therein. The numerous standout moments examined include his work on access to the judiciary, prison reform, and suggested reforms to the European Court of Human Rights. Fascinating insights into the defining cases of his career, T AG v Jonathan Cape, Gouriet v Union of Post Office Workers, Tameside, Hazel v Hammersmith, M v Home Office, remind the reader of how impactful his influence has been. He considers the setting of the mandatory component of the life sentences of Thompson and Venables and the Diane Blood case. Alongside the case law, and the Woolf Reforms, the Constitutional Law Reform Act 2005 is also explored.
Considering the ebb and flow of changes over his remarkable judicial life, Lord Woolf identifies those he welcomes, but also expresses regret on what has been lost. A book to remind lawyers, be they students, practitioners or scholars, of the power and importance of law.
All author profits from the book will be donated to the Woolf Institute.