top of page

Drama Meets Legal English: Witness for the Prosecution in London

Dear legal language enthusiasts! As part of my meticulously crafted legal English tour in London, one stands out as an absolute highlight – witnessing the play "Witness for the Prosecution," an adaptation of Agatha Christie's masterpiece.

Attending this legal drama play at the theatre reminded me how immersing ourselves in various experiences, like theatre, for a few hours enhances our learning journey and can greatly amplify our grasp of, for example, legal English terms.

Balancing Dramaturgy and the Law

The inception of this masterpiece was no ordinary tale. It all began with the theatrical visionary Mr. Saunders, who wanted the legendary Agatha Christie to pen a thrilling courtroom drama.

However, Agatha Christie hesitated to write the play until Saunders assured her that he would hire an expert consultant to validate the legal authenticity of the plot. To this end, he enlisted the expertise of a barrister and amateur actor, Humphrey Tilling. Tilling was entrusted with the crucial role of ensuring that the legal elements of the play were accurate and compelling.

Notwithstanding this, the creative process was not without its own share of drama. Despite Tilling's well-intentioned suggestions for improvements, Christie was resolute in her vision for the narrative and rejected any tampering. Her commitment to maintaining the integrity of her work shines through, demonstrating her profound understanding of storytelling's nuances.

In addition to Tilling's involvement, Christie dove into her research with unwavering determination. She delved into the depths of "Notable British Trials," a series of volumes that offered insights into the courtroom drama that was the backbone of her play. But the pursuit of accuracy didn't stop there. Saunders himself took on the role of researcher, attending real hearings at the iconic Old Bailey, the very heart of British justice.

The Old Bailey: The Heart of the Legal Drama Play

The Old Bailey, formally known as the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, is a historic courthouse that has witnessed countless legal dramas over the years. Its significance in the realm of justice cannot be overstated. Situated in the heart of London, this formidable building has seen trials of historical importance and remains a testament to the British legal system's enduring strength.

Dominating the building's façade is the iconic bronze figure of Lady Justice, poised at the top of the Old Bailey. This symbol, often depicted blindfolded to represent impartiality, underscores the principle of justice being blind to external influences. Lady Justice's scale and sword are powerful reminders of the delicate balance between fairness and authority that underpins every legal proceeding.

The Plot

Witness for the Prosecution follows the trial of Leonard Vole, accused of murdering a widow in order to inherit her fortune after being named her principal heir. The stakes are high, and so is the tension. As revelations unfold and a surprising witness’ testimony comes to light, join the jury in the impossibly difficult task of deciding the fate of the accused.

Witness for the Prosecution: A Setting Where Legal English Flourishes

For legal English enthusiasts, "Witness for the Prosecution" offers an exceptional opportunity to witness the artistry of language in a courtroom setting. The play showcases the intricate dance of legal jargon, persuasive arguments, and emotional testimony that characterizes legal proceedings. From cross-examinations to opening statements, every aspect of legal discourse comes to life on the stage, providing a captivating showcase of the power of words in the realm of justice.

A Call to Experience This Legal Drama

If you find yourself in London and have a passion for both the intricacies of legal language and the thrill of live theatre, "Witness for the Prosecution" at The Chamber, London County Hall, is an absolute must-see. This unique adaptation of Agatha Christie's timeless classic promises an unforgettable experience that merges the worlds of law and drama in an exceptional way.

For those eager to witness this remarkable performance, you can find ticket information and showtimes on the official website of The Chamber, London County Hall. Immerse yourself in a world where justice is meted out on the stage, and legal English skills take centre stage, leaving you both spellbound and inspired.

Witness for the Prosecution at The Chamber is more than just a play; it's a journey into the heart of legal drama and linguistic prowess. So, get ready to be captivated by the intrigue, the eloquence, and the spectacle that awaits within the walls of London County Hall.

For those interested in watching the play, you can find more information and tickets here

Do you want to boost your legal English skills?

Join 'The Legal English Team'


Subscribe to our newsletter and join 'The Legal English Team'. Unlock a world of legal knowledge and connect with a global community of legal English and law enthusiasts.


It's free! Sign up to stay in the loop about our activities and exciting projects.

bottom of page