Letters - Garrow's Law

By coincidence the day I received my copy of the January edition of Counsel (as a retired barrister who still has some interest in his former profession), I also received The Times reproduction of its first edition (in the guise of “The Daily Universal Register”) of 1 January 1785. 
Counsel ran an article about the making of  “Garrow’s Law” (pp 27 to 29). The BBC One series portrayed a barrister who was the champion of the underdog, supporter of seemingly lost causes and a generally selfless and often ill-remunerated pioneer of defence advocacy. 


Of course he may have been all of these things, but in the Daily Universal Register (p 2, fourth column) there appears a report of the adjourned examination of Mr Turner, a bankrupt.  His counsel, Mr Morgan, pleaded for time to satisfy his creditors, sought “the indulgence due to innocence” and cited “the severity of the laws with respect to bankrupts”.  Counsel for the creditors would have none of this: he “was of opinion that poverty or any other worldly inconvenience could not lead an honest man from the paths of probity ... He further asserted that Mr Turner had been treated with unexampled lenity and favour ... he feared that his indulgence to the prisoner (bankrupt) would draw on him the displeasure of his clients”. Counsel’s name? Mr Garrow.


David Jeffreys QC

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