Rose Heilbron QC (later Dame Rose Heilbron), was an English barrister, who became a world famous icon of the 1950s and 1960s. She was one of the two first women King's Counsel (later Queen's Counsel) in 1949 and the first senior woman Judge in England in 1956 when she became Recorder of Burnley. This biography, written by her daughter Hilary, also a barrister and Queen's Counsel, charts her rise to prominence and success against the odds, excelling as an advocate and lawyer and later as only the second female High Court Judge in a career spanning nearly 50 years. She broke down many barriers with a string of firsts in the legal profession. She became a pioneer for women at the English Bar and for women generally, championing many women's causes in an era when it was not fashionable to do so.Table of Contents after the jump.
The biography highlights her role as an inspiring and successful defence advocate in many famous and fascinating cases as well as in cases of great legal importance. These include the Cameo murder case in 1950; the trial of Devlin and Burns for capital murder; the representation of the striking Liverpool Dockers in a case of national importance; the defence of the notorious London gangster, Jack Spot; and the representation, in an early anti-discrimination case, of the world renowned cricketer, Learie Constantine.
Also chronicled are her years as a High Court Judge and the wide range of other legal and non-legal activities she undertook as a result of her fame including her appointment by the government in 1975 to chair an Advisory Committee on Rape.
With the added insights and recollections of her daughter it portrays a multi-dimensional picture of the young and beautiful Rose Heilbron - barrister, judge, working wife and mother - who not only managed to combine these public and private roles in an era when to do so was extremely rare, but who did so with the combination of warmth, flair and determination which was to make her an internationally acclaimed role model for women.
Many people over the years have wanted to write about her: this is the first authorised biography.
Chapter 1 – Childhood
Chapter 2 – Liverpool University and Gray's Inn
Chapter 3 – Becoming a Barrister
Chapter 4 – Developing a Practice at the Bar
Chapter 5 – The End of the War and Marriage
Chapter 6 – Becoming a Mother and Taking Silk
Chapter 7 – The Cameo Murder Trials
Chapter 8 – Adjustment to Motherhood and in Demand as a Speaker
Chapter 9 – Getting into her Stride in Silk
Chapter 10 – Welcome and Unwelcome Publicity and Another Famous Murder Trial
Chapter 11 – A Series of High-Profile Cases
Chapter 12 – Rose Cements Her Reputation
Chapter 13 – A Series of Triumphs-On the Brink of Legal History Once More
Chapter 14 – An Unwitting Public Persona
Chapter 15 – First Woman Recorder and a Trip to Benin
Chapter 16 – Premieres, Parades, Parklands and Practice
Chapter 17 – A Flourishing Practice and a Royal Invitation to Lunch
Chapter 18 – Some New Experiences
Chapter 19 – Temporary Disappointments and Long-Term Achievements
Chapter 20 – Another Landmark Case
Chapter 21 – The Last Years at the Bar
Chapter 22 – The Start of Judicial Life
Chapter 23 – The Rape Report and More Honours
Chapter 24 – Settling into Judicial Life
Chapter 25 – The Final Years before Retirement
Chapter 26 – Retirement