There are numerous references made in McLibel: Burger Culture on Trial to the less than favourable opinion of the law held by the great Victorian writer Charles Dickens. The notion that the common law has evolved to work against the interests of justice and the common person, and for the interests of lawyers and big business is canvassed at length in McLibel: Burger Culture on Trial. Vidal, a journalist with the Guardian, documents the history of the parties, the day to day details in court and the ramifications of the longest trial in English legal history.
Totalling a massive 313 days in court, McDonald's Corporation and McDonald's Restaurants Ltd (UK) v Steel and Morris (hereafter referred to as McLibel) has captured attention world wide, much to the delight of the unemployed anarchist defendants and the regret of the plaintiff mega-corporation. The global significance of this case has produced not just McLibel the book, but also McLibel the movie plus a website that has been accessed by millions around the world. Indeed this could arguably be one of the most important trials of the decade, not only from a legal perspective but from a cultural and socio-economic viewpoint also. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that Vidal has catered for a cross section of interests by producing a work that is part legal textbook, part economic theory and part journalistic narrative — and all with a dash of humour and keen sense of the David and Goliath drama to keep the momentum flowing.