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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)2020 Quercus Editions Limited

Critic reviews

 "Gripping." (The Times)

"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)

"A must read if you've got any interest in the criminal law." (Matthew Scott, Barrister Blog)

What listeners say about Under the Wig

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interesting read

interesting insight to the criminal justice system. those poor barristers who can only buy a small house on the outskirts of london, joining the real world i suggest

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Good but needed a better editor

As a solicitor who found criminal law the most interesting subject at law college, I was hoping for plenty of anecdotes and analysis of Clegg's cases. He certainly delivers when taking us through the detail of say the Colin Stagg or Jill Dando cases but I was less interested in the war crime cases (a couple of chapters feature these} as, although clearly landmarks, they are not particularly interesting from a legal perspective. Clegg is clearly at the top of his game but he needed an editor remove the boring anecdotes, eg. His campaign for fresh toast in the Belfast hotel or the video conferencing facilities in his Chambers!

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interesting.

Following a QC through cases covered by the press. worth my credit I say.

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Gripping and unforgettable - really?

This book didn't grip me at all. I found it a bit tedious and dull. Usually I think it adds something to a book when it is narrated by the author, but I think it might have been better if it had been narrated by someone else. William Clegg QC stumbled over the words as if he'd never seen them before. Actually, as it was written by a ghost writer, he probably hadn't seen them before! Sorry, but I will be returning this one.

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Fascinating

You get a real sense of the man and the role, a remarkable and far too rare insight.

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interesting - most of the time!

I find things relating to real crime fascinating and I was really looking forward to listening to this book.
On the whole it was good but there were times where I just lost interest. Like a lot of people, I have often wondered how defence can be put forward for people that are obviously guilty, this is well explained and has made me think differently.
Normally books narrated by the author add something but in this case it didn't, it sounded like he had been put on the spot to read aloud and was frightened to make a mistake! I even looked him up on You Tube to see if this is how he always spoke, slow and deliberate - it isn't!
Worth a listen despite the lulls.

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Interesting, but terrible sound editing.

Interesting tales, but I really can’t understand why this should be sold with sound editing that clips words

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Excellent

William Clegg as the narrator makes the book for me, he speaks very cleanly and is so easy to understand, the content is also very interesting from the Murder cases he has defended to the process of becoming a QC.

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Certainly an interesting insight into Law, and true crime cases as gripping as any sherlock holmes case- and more shocking...
Unfortunately does tend to delve a little too much into politics.

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Highly recommended for all audiences

Fascinating and easy to understand narration by William himself! highly recommended and more so law students