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  • Published: 8 January 2019
  • ISBN: 9780143784081
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • RRP: $34.99

Rather His Own Man

The riveting autobiography from Australia’s inimitable Geoffrey Robertson. Funny, personal, and bringing Robertson's fascinating and colourful career up to date following The Justice Game.

In this witty, engrossing and sometimes poignant memoir, a sequel to his best-selling The Justice Game, Australia’s inimitable Geoffrey Robertson charts his progress from pimply state schoolboy to top Old Bailey barrister and thence onwards and upwards to a leading role in the struggle for human rights throughout the world.

He wryly observes the absurdities of growing up as one of ‘Ming’s kids’; the passion of student protest in the sixties and his early crusades for ‘Down Under-dogs’, before leaving on a Rhodes Scholarship to combat the British establishment, with the help of John Mortimer of ‘Rumpole’ fame. There are dramatic accounts of fighting for lives on death rows, freeing dissidents and taking on tyrants, armed only with a unique mind and a passion for justice – on display whenever he boomeranged back to Australia to conduct Geoffrey Robertson’s Hypotheticals.

In this updated edition of his amazing life story, he tells of David and Goliath battle; tales that feature a cast of characters from Malcolm Turnbull to Mike Tyson; from Nigella Lawson to Kathy Lette and Julian Assange. Throughout his exploits – recounted here with irreverent humour and dashes of true wisdom – Geoffrey Robertson has remained determinedly independent and his own man. He has also, in respect of human rights, changed the way we think.

  • Published: 8 January 2019
  • ISBN: 9780143784081
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • RRP: $34.99

About the author

Geoffrey Robertson

Geoffrey Robertson QC has had a distinguished career as a trial counsel and human rights advocate. He has been a UN war crimes judge, a counsel in many notable Old Bailey trials, has defended hundreds of men facing death sentences in the Caribbean, and has won landmark rulings on civil liberty from the highest courts in Britain, Europe and the Commonwealth. He is founder and head of Doughty Street Chambers, a Master of the Middle Temple, and a visiting professor at the New College of Humanities in London.

His book Crimes Against Humanity has been an inspiration for the global justice movement, his other books include Freedom, the Individual and the Law, The Tyrannicide Brief, The Statute of Liberty, Dreaming Too Loud and the acclaimed memoir The Justice Game. He has made many television and radio programmes, notably Geoffrey Robertson's Hypotheticals, and has won a Freedom of Information award for his writing and broadcasting. In 2011 he received the New York State Bar Association’s Award for ‘Distinction in International Law and Affairs’, and was Australian Humanitarian of the Year in 2014. In 2018 he was awarded an order of Australia (AO) for ‘his distinguished service to the law and the legal profession as an international human rights lawyer and advocate for global civil liberties’.

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Praise for Rather His Own Man

If Robin Hood, King Arthur, St George, Florence Nightingale and Oscar Wilde were compressed into one witty, brilliant and compassionate lawyer, they still wouldn't come close to approximating the heroic champion of our laws and liberties that is the great Geoffrey Robertson. What a life and how crackingly well told. When a heart-stoppingly unputdownable comedy thriller turns out to be a truthful account of a real life, you know you're on to a winner.

Stephen Fry

Before I read Geoffrey’s brilliant book, I thought a barrister was a guy who made expensive coffee. I’m much wiser now.

Billy Connolly

Geoff is one of the choice and master spirits of the age. Written with all the wit and style you'd expect, this is a delightful, absorbing memoir of a life well lived.

Mike Carlton

Be thankful that Geoffrey Robertson is ‘rather his own man’. Reliable Memoirs tells of legal battles for human rights won and lost in the courts of London, Sierra Leone and the Hague. Witty, clever and compassionate, Geoffrey tell his personal story in the pursuit of the holy grail of social justice and the rule of law.

Gillian Triggs

An extraordinary insight … into one of the best minds of a generation


If you are seeking inspiration, look no farther than the memoirs of my colleague Geoffrey Robertson, QC, Rather His Own Man. While Robertson often casts an amused eye over his own cases, the essential part he plays in human rights legal history shines through. Robertson is an original and creative legal, social and political thinker. His writing, always provocative, is witty, engaging and at times laugh-out-loud funny. His tone slickly transits from gossip splashed around his celebrity pool to full battle cry. Kick back and enjoy the ride.

The Times - summer reads 2018

Captivating reading … entertaining and erudite throughout

Canberra Weekly

Display[s] not only his high intellect and admirable independence of thought, but literary flair and an unexpected self-deprecating side


As this scrupulously informed and charmingly written memoir proves, Geoffrey Robertson, AO, QC, is far more entertaining than some lawyers dare to be and far more literate than some writers have the right to be

Sydney Morning Herald

Robertson reflects on a life of love, laughter and litigation with the charm and humour of an adept dinner party conversationalist


Thoroughly entertaining. Robertson has won countless famous legal victories and helped to change attitudes to human rights far beyond these shores. He is an epic raconteur … It’s a book that might persuade a young person that the law need not be a dull profession

Sunday Times

A rare legal autobiography that entertains, informs and inspires. Robertson’s talents, as a lawyer and as an author, are to seduce the judge, jury or reader by his exceptional command of language and rhetoric, and his ability to ridicule his opponent’s case out of court … He has played a significant part in changing legal culture

The Times

Riveting. [Robertson]’s contemporaries at the bar will read these memoirs with envy; others with almost as much enjoyment as his eminent entourage attests to on the dustjacket.

Spectator (UK)

The rollicking adventures of an exceptional talent with an unwavering commitment to human rights ... a fabulous and enjoyable read that I would recommend to lawyers and non-lawyers alike

Journal of NSW Bar Association

A rollicking read, with some laugh-out-loud lines […] a useful primer to some of the great legal arguments of our age.

Law Society Gazette (UK)

A memoir that is by turns gossipy and gobsmackingly enthralling

Qantas magazine

Geoffrey Robertson has never not known whose side he is on and what he wants to say. His learned account of his life - from the wastelands of suburban Australia via the Oz trial at the Old Bailey, to the Hague and his marriage to Kathy Lette - is no exception. One of the world's most famous human right's lawyers, who has represented everyone from pornographers to Princess Diana, he showcases his immense talents with typical gravitas, grandstanding and gossipy insight.

Sunday Times Books of the Year

Discover more

Peeling back the layers

Some delightful details of the multifaceted life of Geoffrey Robertson.