The Strange Case Of The Law - General Information
Premiere: June 18, 2012
Genre: Crime | History
Network: BBC FOUR (United Kingdom)
Airs: Wednesdays at 09:00 pm
Runtime: 60 Minutes
3 Part Series
1x01 -- Jun 20, 2012 -- Laying Down the Law
1x02 -- Jun 27, 2012 -- The Pursuit of Liberty
1x03 -- Jul 04, 2012 -- Presumed Innocent
About the show
The Strange Case Of The Law sees barrister Harry Potter taking a look at the remarkable story of English justice. He used to be an ordained priest in the Church of England and spent eight years as a prison chaplain.
1x01 -- Jun 20, 2012 -- Laying Down the Law -- English common law, with its emphasis on the role of the jury, set a standard of fairness that has influenced legal systems across the world. Many of the features that characterise today's courts were in place by as early as the 14th century. How did England come to have such a distinctive and enduring system?
Harry Potter traces English law back to the simple compensation culture of early Anglo-Saxon Kent. He explores the rise of trial by ordeal, where painful and dangerous physical tests were used to determine guilt or innocence. He shows how this system of religious 'proof' came to be replaced by jury trial, explains why Henry II's attempt to unify law in England led to murder in Canterbury Cathedral and takes a revealing look at the most famous legal document in history, Magna Carta.
1x02 -- Jun 27, 2012 -- The Pursuit of Liberty -- Many of the rights and freedoms we take for granted today were forged during the turbulent 17th and 18th centuries, when courageous men used the law to challenge tyranny and the abuse of power. Harry Potter re-lives the struggles and achievements of these extraordinary figures. They include the barrister who risked assassination and eternal damnation to put the king of England on trial for his crimes against the people; the civil rights activist who was banished to Oliver Cromwell's equivalent of Guantanamo Bay; and the pillar of the establishment whose radical judgement rocked the slave trade, triggering its ultimate abolition.
1x03 -- Jul 04, 2012 -- Presumed Innocent -- Although England had a well-developed legal system by the 19th century, the trial process was stacked against the defendant. Crimes like theft and damage to property could be punished by death, but trials were often over in minutes and most defendants had no-one to put their case other than the judge himself.
Harry Potter explores the incredible transformation that enshrined fairness in English court procedure and put the defence on an equal footing with the prosecution. It was a change shaped by seismic shifts in English society, from the Industrial Revolution to the rise of the popular press. Above all, it saw the emergence of the star turn of the courtroom drama - the defence barrister. Harry's journey involves spies, forgery, fraud and murder, and a visit to the set of drama series Garrow's Law