For decades, Sydney Kentridge QC has been admired as a brilliant advocate, an outstanding lawyer, and, during the apartheid years in South Africa, a courageous defender of the individual against an oppressive state. His advocacy at the inquest of Steve Biko came to the attention of a wider audience when he was portrayed on stage and screen by Albert Finney. He has since pursued a second, equally celebrated career as a barrister in England. In 1999, Kentridge was knighted 'for services to international law and justice.' This book contains selections from Sydney Kentridge's lectures and talks, including memorable and often moving accounts of his experiences as an advocate practicing in South Africa under a legal system, which not merely permitted racial discrimination, but required it and in which, for political cases, many of the protections essential to a fair trial had been abolished. The book also includes a speech on his involvement in the Biko case, which has never previously been published. Additionally, wider topics are addressed, including the ethics of advocacy, freedom of speech, the rule of law, and the selection of judges. Two themes that run through the book are: an acute sense of the fragility of the rights and values that define a free country and, at the same time, an intense appreciation of just how much such rights and freedoms, which we may sometimes take for granted, really matter. Free Country: Selected Speeches and Talks will be of interest to those who are familiar with Sydney Kentridge's career, as well as those interested in the concepts of freedom and rights.
Publication Date: 12/16/2012