'You be the Judge' - A Study of 10 Famous Trials from British History 1500-2000

Ref: C3746942

Every famous trial is a snapshot of history in the making. We see the cast of characters strutting on the stage that is the court room, acting out their roles against the backdrop of forces that are beyond their control - the letter of the law, the power of the state, the force of prejudice, the facts of the case. The particular outcome of the trial is their focus, but ours is more than that; why is this trial famous, how did it change things, what lessons does it teach us? For added excitement, the names of the trials we will be studying will not be disclosed in advance.

Course aim

In this course we will study the people, issues and outcomes in 10 famous trials from British history, with a view to understanding their political, social and legal significance.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • describe in outline the facts of at least 6 of the trials studied in this course.
  • identify at least 1 factor (other than the evidence presented in court) that had a significant effect on the outcome of those 6 trials.
  • explain at least 1 reason why each of those 6 trials is famous.
  • identify at least 1 lesson to be drawn from each of those 6 trials.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

Although this course will be taught face-to-face, it will be very helpful if you have a computer with an internet connection, in order that you can do the recommended reading and research during and after the course.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

'You be the Judge' - A Study of 10 Famous Trials from British History 1500-2000


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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