Rose Heilbron

Legal Pioneer of the 20th Century: Inspiring Advocate who became England's First Woman Judge

By Hilary Heilbron

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 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. The biography highlights her role as an inspiring and successful defense 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 defense 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 - 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 authorized biography.


365 pages

Publication Date: 10/22/2012
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9781849464017