I’ve been trying to find information on courtroom procedure in the 1920’s for a sequel to my historical romance, Unexpected Danger. I think I might have found good sources for the tendencies of English courts around that time. One is a book written in the 1960’s about a court case in 1931, The Killing of Julia Wallace. It’s reputed to have a play-by-play of the trial and witness testimony. If nothing else, it might indicate what sort of questions were asked and allowed.
I also found a book, Oxfordshire Murders. It has select interesting cases from the 18th century to then-modern day. It includes several cases around 1920’s and 1930’s. It showed that an insanity defense wasn’t unheard-of at the time, which is important to my story. What this book also clearly shows (and other sources seem to bear out) is the importance of the judge’s summing up at the end of the case, and how it might sway the jury. The personal/professional opinion of the judge carried a lot of weight, and was sometimes IMO highly subjective and skewed. Anyone who’s read Dorothy L. Sayers’ Strong Poison will understand what I mean.