Richard Oerton was born in Devon in 1936. He was admitted a Solicitor in 1959 and got married the same year. He worked in private practice, in legal publishing, at the Law Commision and briefly in the Treasury Solicitor's Department, and he ended as consultant with a firm of Solicitors and Parliamentary Agents in Westminster. He's always been interested in penal reform and was for a while review editor of the Howard Journal (the journal of the Howard League for Penal Reform). He's written or edited quite a few legal textbooks and written two other books ("Who Is the Criminal?" and "A Lament for the Law Commission")and contributed a lot of articles and letters to journals and newspapers. He's now retired, a widower, and living in Somerset. He has two surviving children (his son died in 2005) and five grandchildren.