William Norman Birkett, 1st Baron Birkett(1883-1962), Judge
Sitter in 10 portraits
Birkett left school at fifteen and started working as an apprentice in one of his father's shops. Having become a Methodist preacher, he was encouraged to go to Cambridge and read theology. Once there, he decided instead to study law; by the 1930s he had gained a reputation as one of the foremost advocates of his time. He was connected with many famous legal cases, perhaps the best remembered of which was the 1934 murder trial in which he secured the acquittal of Tony Mancini in the face of overwhelming evidence (and a later confession). Birkett became a judge in 1941 and in 1945 he was selected as the alternate judge to Lord Justice Lawrence at the Nuremberg trials of German war criminals.