The Return of Breaking Law: A Judge’s Inside Guide to Your Legal Rights & Winning in Court or Losing Well


Stephen Gold


£25, Bath Publishing



This is a welcome second edition of a book packed with useful information for consumers and non-lawyers. It is stuffed full of practical hints from a former solicitor and judge. Although written with the litigant in person and non-lawyer in mind, solicitors will also benefit from the insight. It covers most of the legal issues that the public need advice and information on. There is a companion website to the book at, which has articles and updates as well as an email news service.

The content is both entertaining as well as illuminating. There is a piece on the life expectancy of a chocolate and probably more than you need or want to know about what happened to Ronald Kray’s brain.

Stephen Gold has had a rich and varied career as a lawyer, writer and media pundit. He was a district judge and so the book is written from the point of view of both sides of the courtroom, no doubt fortified by experiences with litigants in person.

There are sections on virtually everything an individual needs to know but was frightened to ask about the law, as well as a description of the various steps in a civil case. Many of us will benefit from a useful section on ‘without prejudice’ offers and articles cover disparate subjects such as property problems, relationship difficulties (including the new law on divorces), will drafting, inheritance and other taxes, unhappy holidays, private car parks, squatters, excess alcohol and excess Japanese knotweed.

There is guidance on how to cope with life without a lawyer, including websites and other sources of advice such as free advocacy. If anyone does actually still want a solicitor to handle their legal work then the book contains advice on how to choose a lawyer and what to ask them. It is perhaps surprising that prospective clients do not ask basic questions such as: How much do you charge? Who will do the work?, and Do you think I will win?


David Pickup is a partner at Pickup & Scott Solicitors, Aylesbury