19 Apr 2021
COVID-19 has given many people a window through which they can see how easily life can turn for the worse, and how quickly they might end up needing the help of a legal aid lawyer like David Renton.
Renton takes the reader on a journey through the civil justice system, the county courts and employment tribunals, where there are no wigs, gowns or juries but where decisions are made, sometimes in a matter of minutes, that can turn a life upside down.
There is much to enrage readers as Renton skilfully describes the historical and political context that led us to this point. Through the warmth and compassion of its story-telling, Jobs and homes demonstrates that the law is not just about systems, closures, funding or fees but about helping people solve their problems and being there to support their fight.
Jobs and homes is above all a hopeful book. It is a celebration of legal aid lawyers who carry out acts of heroism on a daily basis. These lawyers fight for the underdog because they know this is not a fair fight and that – without them – many people won’t find themselves a new job or a new home.
'The engaging quality of the writing alone, leaving aside the humane and sympathetic treatment of the material, made Jobs and Homes a pleasure to read – and undoubtedly one of the best books of 2021 so far.' Mike Phipps, LabourHub
Jobs and Homes’ is predicated on the simplest of propositions; that people need secure employment and they need secure shelter to manage and hopefully thrive in society … the real success of this book lies in the humanity that Renton brings to the people and stories herein. His skill lies in tethering important socio-political material to his compassion and flair for story telling such that both the personal and the political entertain and inform the reader in equal measure.’ Simon Mullings, HLPA
'David Renton’s new book isn’t just about fighting the good fight in the tribunals: it’s about the everyday Dickensian human stories that don’t make headlines ... The opening chapter ends with the words: “I hope that by the end … you will view the law – and our society – differently.” Speaking for myself, after almost half a century of working on human rights – but never in the employment or housing tribunals, thank you David Renton for opening my eyes to levels of injustice that cry out for root and branch radical change to our society’s smug assumptions.' Richard Harvey, human rights lawyer
‘The personal commentary and insightful political analysis help to keep the tone light and accessible between detailed and deeply affecting stories from people who Renton has represented in recent years …The book would serve as an excellent primer for both activists and young lawyers seeking to arm themselves with arguments in favour of widening access to justice. It would also be useful in the housing and trade union movements as a glimpse into the injustices of the justice system for workers and tenants.’ Socialist Lawyer