'He never gives anything away - it is like an Exocet missile coming out of the blue'

Michael Mansfield QC pays tribute to a formidable master of his craft
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I don't think there would be a more formidable opponent than George Carman. I have to say it would be difficult to find anyone who would present more of a challenge. If you were up against him, you knew you had to be on your best mettle.

I don't think there would be a more formidable opponent than George Carman. I have to say it would be difficult to find anyone who would present more of a challenge. If you were up against him, you knew you had to be on your best mettle.

I have only gone against him once and that was some time ago when I was representing the miners' union leader Arthur Scargill and George was representing the police.

We contrasted quite sharply. George is quite small, and hunched, whereas I am a lot bigger. I will lean across tothe jury while he stands on the spot. People accuse me of being a lot more flamboyant than he ever was.

He never lets anyone know what is coming next - there is not a flicker of emotion with him. He is not the impassioned speaker that is sometimes suggested. But he never gives anything away - it is like an Exocet missile coming out of the blue.

There was a myth about him that during a case he always had something up his sleeve, but I think the thing that is often forgotten is that he obviously did a great deal of preparation.

He was extremely thorough and that is something thelegal profession needs at the moment.

When he entered the profession it was very different than it is now. It was something you did if you did not manage to do something else such as join the church.

Like myself, he never worked with a note. Instead he was always watching thewitness and looking for a sign. That is vital and your brain is liberated in that you are not following a structure but are listening and reacting.

On a personal level he was very personable and affable and we always got on. It was interesting because with all of us, even though we might not like to admit it, we are still nervous with the big cases.

On big cases George would get very pent up because he did not know which way it was going to go. Even though you give a calm performance in court - especially him because he gave so little away - you are still anxious about the result. He would be anxious because he cared so much.

Unlike myself, he has never got involved in the political arena - sticking instead to what he knows best - but I would say he is the best-known lawyer of his generation.