By Helena Kennedy
Review by Claudia (Law)
It’s really easy to see law as a dry, dull subject, particularly when you’re first applying to university! One book that really helped me realise that this isn’t necessarily the case was Just Law by Helena Kennedy. It never feels like a textbook, but is instead almost a social critique, making it ideal not only for law students but also anyone interested in the social sciences/humanities.
What I really enjoyed about this book was how passionate Baroness Kennedy sounds about law. My main worry about studying law was that it was going to be just about memorising textbooks and long, boring statutes. This book shows how profoundly Law impacts absolutely everything around us. Baroness Kennedy basically argues that Law is about politics, and talks about wider issues that law tackles which we don’t necessarily associate “the study of law” with when applying; it’s not about things like the rules one has to follow to make a legal lease (although a law degree will certainly teach you that!), but about the values that really make up law, values like equality and respect. Baroness Kennedy does go to the core of law, asking questions like what role human rights play in shaping the law and what role they should play.
The book in itself is, above all, readable. Law seems daunting and confusing, but Just Law made me realise that it can also be fascinating. I read this book during my first year of doing the International Baccalaureate, so absolutely no knowledge of law is required. The style is sarcastic, at times even scathing, but that is what makes the book such a great read. Baroness Kennedy’s views are controversial in their brutal honesty, but whether or not you agree with her it is impossible not to feel how passionate she is about the subject. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone thinking of a career in Law or Politics; it’s slightly challenging, but absolutely worth it.
Just Law by Baroness Helena Kennedy
Try checking the availability of this book at your school or local library or explore second hand bookshops and websites. You may also wish to purchase from either Amazon or Blackwell’s.