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Under the Wig: A Lawyer's Stories of Murder, Guilt and Innocence

Narrated by: William Clegg QC
Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (128 ratings)
Regular price: £22.99
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Summary

How can you speak up for someone accused of a savage murder? Or sway a jury? Or get a judge to drop a case?

In this memoir, murder case lawyer William Clegg revisits his most intriguing trials, from the acquittal of Colin Stagg to the shooting of Jill Dando, to the man given life because of an earprint.

All the while he lays bare the secrets of his profession, from the rivalry among barristers to the nervous moments before a verdict comes back, and how our right to a fair trial is now at risk. 

Under the Wig is for anyone who wants to know the reality of a murder trial. It has been praised as 'gripping' by The Times, 'riveting' by the Sunday Express and 'fascinating' by the Secret Barrister, who described the author as 'one of our country's greatest jury advocates.'

Several prominent barristers, including Matthew Scott and Bob Marshall-Andrews QC, have said Under the Wig is a 'must read' for anyone with an interest in the criminal law. Switch off the TV dramas and see real criminal law in action. 

Well-known cases featured:

  •     The Murder of Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common
  •     The Chillenden Murders (Dr Lin and Megan Russell)
  •     The Trial of Private Lee Clegg
  •     The Murder of Jill Dando
  •     The first Nazi war crimes prosecution in the UK
  •     The Murder of Joanna Yeates
  •     The Rebekah Brooks Phone Hacking Trial  
©2018 William Clegg (P)2018 Canbury Press

Critic reviews

"This is a gripping memoir from one of our country's greatest jury advocates, offering a fascinating, no-holds-barred tour behind the scenes of some of the most famous criminal cases of modern times." (The Secret Barrister)

"Bill Clegg's memoir draws on some of the most high-profile criminal prosecutions to illuminate the career of a defence lawyer at the peak of his success. Unlike many works of this genre, he eschews endless exchanges with long-forgotten judges, lawyers and villains. Like the successful jury advocate that he is, he reduces his story to its essence and speaks without bombast and braggadocio.... an unforgettable legal memoir." (Joshua Rozenberg QC, legal commentator)

"One of England's best barristers provides a fascinating sometimes hilarious combination of a personal odyssey and insider accounts of the most important and famous court cases of recent times." (Bob Marshall-Andrews, QC)

  "Gripping." (The Times)

What members say

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Fantastic

Thourghly enjoyed this book, it's really interesting, engaging and informative.
William Clegg comes across as very intellectual, highly intelligent, individual with a great sense of fairness. Highly recommended

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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a class act appreciated on many levels

i enjoyed this book. nice succint phrasing. although understandably serious in places, there's many moments of subtle dry humour.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating insight into professional life of top criminal QC

This book, narrated by the author himself, provides a fascinating insight into some of the high-profile trials in which he appeared. Interspersed with details of the cases and clients, the author weaves a lot of information of life at the Bar. The anecdotes and tidbits reveal a profession that can be rewarding but has become frustrating for many. It’s a sad indictment of the legal system and its lack of funding by successive recent governments that the kind of talent and industry described in the book will be discouraged from ever entering the legal profession and certainly from pursuing a career at the Bar.

The author’s pace is a slow one and perhaps this works well in front of juries, but at times it would be better if the speed of reading increased. But it’s a minor criticism of a short and absorbing tale of life in and out of the courtroom including a fascinating window on the profession itself from someone very respected and well qualified to comment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Don't let authors read

This is an account of a lawyer's cases over the years. Not bad, but nothing exciting. What I have to warn listeners about though is the utterly INFURIATING habit of this presumably educated man of pronouncing "a" to rhyme with "hay". They went to hay bar and had hay couple of drinks. Forget the "h" - it is the only way I can get across how ridiculous and unnatural this sounds. He never says they went to uh bar and had uh couple of drinks, which is the way 99.9% of English speakers pronounce the indefinite article. After a while I wanted to hit him over the head with a frying-pan. The lesson is - have a well trained actor read the book.

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Superb

Loved it highly recommended read by the author so the knowledge comes through when listening

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Life & work of a criminal defence barrister

Stories of the training and professional insider experiences interspersed with high profile cases of a leading criminal defence barrister. I heard a short interview with the author on radio 4. William Clegg has a brilliant mind able to analyse complex criminal cases but able to simplify and describe the significance points to the reader in an enjoyable way. Working as a healthcare practitioner, I have no previous insight into the upper echelons of the legal profession, but we are all fascinated by the history, status, power, cases, brainpower & wealth of leading barristers. One thing we learn about the author is that in his late 60s he is still working 13 hour days; so the hard work required to achieve the position of a leading barrister is unrelenting.
An enjoyable listen!

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Loved It

I am interested in anything about the inner workings of our legal system and was always eager to get back to listening to this book

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Thrilling

What a book I had to listen in one go as could not wait for next chapter. I hope he does more. Normally I would not agree in am author narrating his own work but in this case it was relevant and professional.