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Famous cases: Brown v Board of Education of Topeka
An unequal situation Race relations in the U.S. had been dominated by racial segregation. This policy had been endorsed in 1896 by the United States Supreme...

Famous cases: Airedale NHS trust vs Tony Bland
How a series of tragic events led to a debate on euthanasia. Is it acceptable to stop medical treatment of someone who is severely brain damaged? The...

Famous cases: Bill Clinton's impeachment trial
Can the President of the USA get away with lying about his personal life? What did he do? On 6th May 1994, Paula Jones filed a lawsuit claiming that President...

Famous cases: Donoghue v Stevenson
Learn how a simple snail and a bottle of ginger beer were responsible for the birth of the modern law of negligence. On Sunday 26th August 1928 May Donoghue...

Famous cases: Dudley and Stephens
The law lets you kill in self-defence, but what does it say about self-preservation? On July the 5th, 1884, a yacht crew were cast away in a storm 1600...

Famous cases: McLibel
What happens when two penniless activists take on one of the biggest multinationals in the world? The claim In the 1980's London Greenpeace was a small...

Famous cases: Michael Charman v Orion Publishing
Can a journalist publish stories that might not be true? What happened? Michael Charman was a former detective constable in the Metropolitan Police force...

Famous cases: Phillips v Brooks
How did a con-man, a pawnbroker and an emerald ring help to cement British contract law? The case In April 1918, a man calling himself ‘Sir George Bullough’...

Famous cases: R v Penguin Books
Can you publish pornographic or offensive books if they have artistic merit? The case 'Lady Chatterley’s Lover' is a book by D.H. Lawrence, which was...

Famous cases: R v Smith
If you injure someone, but then they go on to get more injuries before they die, can you still be charged with murder? The story Private Thomas Joseph...

Famous cases: Regina v R
Overturning the law that did not recognise rape within marriage In 1736 Chief Justice Hale ruled that “the husband cannot be guilty of rape committed...

Famous cases: Roe v Wade
One of the most famous cases of the twentieth century, Roe v. Wade, led to a landmark ruling allowing women to have legal abortions in America. In 1970...

Famous cases: The Moscow trials
When is a trial not a trial? When it’s staged and planned with only one possible verdict. The Moscow trials were a series of three trials that took...

Famous cases: The Nuremberg Trials
How do you prosecute the most grotesque villains in history? At the end of World War II there was a debate as to what should be done with the Nazi prisoners...

Famous cases: The trial of Guy Fawkes
Why, after 400 years, do we still remember the 5th of November? Guy Fawkes converted to Catholicism around the age of 16. He became a soldier and spent...

Famous cases: The trial of Joan of Arc
The journey of an illiterate farm girl who became first a soldier then a saint. In 1429, France was fighting the English in the Hundred Years’ War....

Famous cases: The trial of Saddam Hussein
One of the most infamous dictators of our time was captured in December 2003. But how can you try a man who everyone thinks is evil? In March 2003 The...

Famous cases: The trial of Socrates
Why did one convict argue that he should be rewarded instead of punished? Socrates was an Athenian philosopher whose questions and opinions clashed with...

Famous cases: William Joyce's treason trial
William Joyce was the last man hanged for treason in the UK. But what did he do and did he deserve such a harsh punishment? Who was he? William Joyce...

Can a bully be guilty of manslaughter?
A bully may be guilty of manslaughter if their victim commits suicide. In R v D, an abusive husband was accused of driving his wife to suicide. Harcharan...

Famous cases: Bushel’s case in 1670
The case that gave Britain, and the world, the independent jury. In 1670 a jury cleared the Quakers William Penn (a barrister who later founded Pennsylvania)...

Religious beliefs and manslaughter: R v Blaue (1975)
A court ruled that a defendant could not be acquitted for blaming his victim’s fate on their belief system. In 1975, Robert Blaue stabbed a woman, who...

What you see is what you get: Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company (1892)
This case that ruled that newspaper adverts can sometimes result in contracts. During a flu epidemic in 1892, Mrs Elizabeth Carlill, a writer and wife...

When is an official exploiting the law? Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd v Wednesbury Corporation (1948)
This case decided that it can be unlawful for public officials to make unreasonable decisions. A local council granted a licence to a cinema company for...

Beyond a reasonable doubt: Woolmington v DPP (1935)
This case set the law on how far the prosecution must prove its case to get a conviction. Reginald Woolmington, a farm labourer, from Castleton near Sherbourne,...

Cashing in on court proceedings: Dimes v Grand Junction Canal (1852)
Thanks to this case judges must not have a personal stake in the outcome of a trial he is judging. In 1852, it was discovered that a judge owned shares...

Mental health and safety in the workplace: Terence Sutherland v Penelope Hatton (2002)
Places onus on employers when an employee contracts stress-related illnessess in the workplace. In a combined appeal from various teachers, local authority...

Famous lawyer: William Garrow
Imagine being accused of a crime and not being allowed a lawyer to defend yourself. Until the 18th Century this was how the law worked. Read on to find...

5 famous judges
Who was the first female law lord in the UK? And who became known as the hanging judge? Read on to find out. Judge Jeffreys Who is he? George Jeffreys...

How Edward VII's appendix changed English contract law
Once upon a time, a king could change the law with a wave of his hand. Edward VII did it by getting appendicitis. Read on to find out more.