The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken (Paperback)
  • The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken (Paperback)
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The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken (Paperback)

(author)
£10.99
Paperback 384 Pages
Published: 04/04/2019
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Waterstones Says

Shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year 2018.  Doing for the law what Do No Harm did for medicine, this explosive exposé brilliantly uncovers the cracks in British justice’s legal crown.

I'm 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 diagnosed with gonorrhoea.

Welcome to the funny, often moving and ultimately life-changing stories of life inside the courtroom. Welcome to the world of the Secret Barrister.

How can you defend a child-abuser you suspect to be guilty? What do you say to someone sentenced to ten years who you believe to be innocent? What is the law and why do we need it? And why do they wear those stupid wigs?

From the criminals to the lawyers, the victims, witnesses and officers of the law, here is the best and worst of humanity, all struggling within a broken system which would never be off the front pages if the public knew what it was really like.

The Secret Barrister does for criminal justice what Henry Marsh’s Do No Harm did for medicine, moving beyond the arcane jargon, televised drama and shaded mystery that cloaks the realities of the British legal system to get at the truth beneath. A tour de force of lived experience and knowledge, it reveals the hidden cracks in our once-formidable legal crown. The result is a powerful indictment of the British justice system that emerges as one of the year’s truly necessary releases. Both a searing first-hand account of the human cost of the criminal justice system, and a guide to how we got into this mess, the Secret Barrister wants to show you what it's really like and why it really matters.

"The Secret Barrister is a fiery, first-hand account of the human and fiscal costs of the criminal justice system in this country and the havoc it wreaks on individuals and communities; it should be required reading." – Richard Humphreys, Waterstones Biography Buyer

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
ISBN: 9781509841141
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 275 g
Dimensions: 196 x 130 x 31 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

By turns eye-opening, damning and hilarious, the secret barrister lifts the lid on a legal system where the system, the politicians, the lack of funding and sometimes the judges are the real villains and the victims are all of us - Tim Shipman, author of Fall Out and All Out War

Dishes the dirt — or serves up a slice of reality — on what barristers do - The Times

The Secret Barrister can write...everyone who has any interest in public life should read it...this is a book of some brilliance, clearly explained, cogently argued - Daily Mail

What’s so powerful about The Secret Barrister is its ability to connect the dots...revealing a picture that is more a commentary on society as a whole than it is on robing rooms full of horsehair wigs - Afua Hirsch, Guardian

Takes the reader deep into the bowels of the criminal justice system...the message of this entertaining book is delivered with great skill...the book is at once a lament and a celebration...the justice system as not just for criminals and victims but for all of us - it is the symbol of our nation's humanity - The Times

Funny, frightening, frequently infuriating but above all profoundly human. As a sensitive and knowledgeable storyteller, the Secret Barrister does for lawyers what James Herriot did for vets - James O'Brien

Terrifying and occasionally hilarious... this is an eye-opening, if depressing, account of the practice of law today. Perhaps there is hope, but the author leaves us in no doubt that urgent reform is needed - The Observer

This excellent book will hopefully raise awareness of what has been, until now, a silent crisis. It is at once a vicious polemic, a helpful primer and a cringe-inducing account of one barrister's travails - Daily Telegraph

Funny, angry, mordant, social satire, reform manifesto – The Secret Barrister offers them all in this legal tour de force. Told through often heart-rending stories of victims and victors in a game of legal roulette, a quest for decency and proper standards of legal service shines through the bleakness. If the Secret Barrister has her or his way, it might happen a bit more often. Read this book, hope and pray - Andrew Adonis

Its stories of how the law often fails those whom it is meant to protect – how do barristers feel when someone they believe to be innocent gets banged up for five years? – make for gripping reading. - John Crace, The Guardian

Fluently and engagingly written...a copy of this book should be placed on the desk of every judge, every trainee lawyer, every would-be lawyer, every politician, and every minister responsible for the legal system - The Literary Review

Stories of The Law and How It's Broken is mordantly clear, chillingly well-observed and terrifyingly funny. I have rarely read a book that filled me with greater fury. Read this, give it to friends, share the Secret Barrister's testimony with strangers - it's a rare and righteous thing - A.L.Kennedy, Booker-listed author of Serious Sweet

An illuminating and timely insight into the legal system, transforming arcane practice into accessible and fascinating anecdote - Sunday Express

An expert and eloquent account of much that has gone wrong with our criminal law procedures: this book is accurate, informative and sensibly points the way to pragmatic reforms - Geoffrey Robertson QC, author of The Justice Game

I suggest that the Leader of the House and all members of the Government read the book by the Secret Barrister - Valerie Vaz, MP, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

Behold, the book that got me through jury service! A timely and accessible look at today's UK court system, this is a no nonsense explainer on how things work, very much don't work, and how we got here. Who knew that educating yourself about, for example, the history of magistrates, could be so much fun? - Alexandra Heminsley, The Pool

Wickedly funny and deadly serious, this brilliant book is an essential read for anyone who cares about justice, fairness and equality before the law. If you felt these things were safe, the Secret Barrister will leave you stunned and aghast at a criminal justice system absolutely broken by cuts across the board, frequently dishing out a travesty of justice. Impassioned, searing and utterly compelling - Rachel Clarke, author of Your Life in My Hands

A brilliant but deeply disturbing book. Using the legal cases of real people, it shows how our criminal justice system is so broken, the innocent end up behind bars while the guilty walk free - Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and Co-leader of the Green Party

Powerful points are expressed in a funny but penetrating way: the barrister weaves personal experience with his or her most memorable cases and clients...after you’ve chuckled to yourself, it forces you to reflect on its real meaning - Prospect Magazine

I've read an absolutely amazing, gripping book by The Secret Barrister...it's a bestselling book which is spread, I think, by word of mouth, about their experiences as a criminal barrister...I found it incredibly informative, a must read - Ed Miliband, Reasons to be Cheerful podcast

The blogger's much-anticipated book is a rallying cry against short sighted governments and an apathetic public...With clarity and eloquence the dozen angry, passionate, frustrated chapters shout their unanimous and damning verdict on a system “close to breaking point”...the book certainly deserves a wider audience - The Brief, The Times

Essential reading for those in, and outside, the law - The Criminal Bar Association

One of the legal blogosphere's hottest properties - The Times on The Secret Barrister Blog

Completely riveting . . . it reveals the good and bad in human beings - The Bookseller - One to Watch

Indispensable - Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times - on The Secret Barrister Blog

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Hardback

“Eye-opening”

This is a MUST read book, once I got started I just couldn't put it down, it's extremely eye-opening look of what really happens in our criminal courts.
A book that is extremely well written, it's funny... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 184

“Compelling and frightening- a must read!”

One of the most frightening books I've read in a long time, the Secret Barrister walks us through the history of our justice system (trial by ordeal, anyone?) and shows us the sorry state of our current legal... More

Hardback edition
2 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 138

“A Necessary Read”

The legal answer to "This is Going To Hurt", a funny and insightful look at our justice system. The writer is fair minded, but also blunt about the abuse and misuse of the system. A really, really good read.

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 134

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