The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken
Im a barrister, a job which requires the skills of a social worker, relationship counsellor, arm-twister, hostage negotiator, named driver, bus fare-provider, accountant, suicide watchman, coffee-supplier, surrogate parent and, on one memorable occasion, whatever the official term is for someone tasked with breaking the news to a prisoner that his girlfriend has been...more
Within law, specifically criminal law, if a case is tried before a Jury then the prosecution (accusing side) must convince a jury 'beyond…moreIt isn't...?
Within law, specifically criminal law, if a case is tried before a Jury then the prosecution (accusing side) must convince a jury 'beyond reasonable doubt' that the accused did it.
As it is impossible in a lot of cases for a crime to be proven beyond any doubt, this has become the accepted standard.(less)
The Secret Barrister is polemic against the system of government that pays lip service to victims of crime or had their civil rights infringed upon, but no money to defend them or put right the wrongs inflicted on them. Every government cuts the money paid to solicitors (office) and barristers ...more
This is such a book.
If you have any interest in the English criminal justice system - and if you live in England and Wales, you should - then this book will be eye-opening, shocking and thought-provoking. A ...more
That we have a crisis of funding in the law should surprise nobody, but perhaps the law suffers for attention in comparison to the NHS because we're more likely to have personal experiences of one than the other. Apart from cases sexy enough for media attention, the day to day running of the law might as well be in the ...more
Fast forward thirty-five years to the ...more
Written like a barrister writes . . . and i don't mean that in a good way
This book opens with some outline information about the author, the book and the criminal justice system. Written by an anonymous barrister it considers of the subject of justice over time and across countries. It also looks at the general strengths and weaknesses of the English justice system and ...more
I had very high hopes for it - I thought it would be the legal equivalent of 'This is going to hurt' which I found insightful, engaging and interesting. Unfortunately, TSB was none of these things to me, and I recognise that, in making this statement, I exemplify the author's hypothesis that citizen apathy towards the failings of the justice ...more
The author, whoever he or she may be, makes some excellent points about the state of the criminal justice system (CJS) in England and Wales. But, my goodness, what a tortuous way to make his case. Clearly, he has not fully absorbed one of the greatest lessons of advocacy: make your point and ...more
Written by an (understandably) anonymous barrister, The Secret Barrister is an account from the inside of the realities of the English and Welsh legal system. It is interesting and very clear about how we came to have the current system, its undoubted strengths, its true aims and the terrible mess which so often ...more
In terms of the content of this book, I should really give it five stars. The Secret Barrister exposes the many flaws and weaknesses in our justice system from an insider's invaluable perspective.
The trouble is that our system is so clearly broken that the book becomes hard to read. I finished it feeling much more depressed and vulnerable than when I first picked it up. The story of the junior doctor wrongly jailed for an attack that overwhelming evidence proved he didn't actually ...more
I accept (by reason of my profession) Im perhaps not the target reader, so my opinion should be weighed in that way, but I found the substance of the book occasionally discursive and unnecessarily prolonged. However, those same aspects may well be what makes this book appealing to a reader who is entirely unfamiliar with the books subjects. ...more
Law can be a dry subject, as the author acknowledges here. I wouldnt describe this ...more
The subject matter is on its face fairly niche - an anonymous barrister exposing the current rickety state of our criminal justice system - and for all the authors attempts to use plain English, the book is inevitably written in a fairly lawyerly style with a lot of legal terminology thrown in.
However, I defy anyone, lawyer or not, to read this and not come away with their eyes firmly ...more
So surely 5 stars? Well, yes, but unfortunately the writing is way too dense and could have done with a good edit.
There's an enormous irony in the author bemoaning judges who can't get over their words in comprehensible English, when you examine the overly-wordy prose of this book.
Granted, the legal system and ...more
You, like I, might subconsciously think the criminal justice system is not really anything to concern 'people like us'. You won't feel that way after you've read this book.