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Batten, Jack.

Toronto, Macmillan, 1988. 368pp, cloth. $24.95. ISBNO-7715-9920-X.CIP

Grades 11 and up.
Reviewed by Joan VanSickle Heaton

Volume 17 Number 1
1989 January

Jack Batten's writing combines a microscopic analysis of detail with dialogue worthy of a good television script. This combination allows the reader to follow complex legal proceedings unencumbered by a lot of procedural language.

It is a commendable stunt. How else would the average person become interested in legal cases involving copyright, learning disability or drug dealing outside Miami? The cases are Canadian, representing legal systems coast to coast and addressing issues typical of life in this fast-moving age.

His leading case involves Hagood Hardy, the popular pianist-composer, caught in a convoluted copyright wrangle with another musician. "Luke's Case" is about a family's insistence that their developmentally handicapped son attend a regular school, despite the "good intentions" of the local school board officials. The case of the drug dealers illustrates the unsavoury fact that Canada's west coast is home to the same sleazy characters who populate North American television screens night after night. It also shows that our police forces use the same tactics as New York's finest--and that sometimes they backfire, too.

Because of Batten's care in varying pace, setting and the distribution of information, the cases are compelling and easy to follow with a lay person's knowledge of the issues. Recommended for students studying law at the secondary level.

Joan VanSickle Heaton, LaSalle Secondary School, Kingston, Ont.
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