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Summary

Bloomsbury presents Justice on Trial by Chris Daw, QC, read by Chris Daw.  

Almost everything we think about crime and punishment is wrong. I am going to show you why. And what we can do about it.  

Chris Daw, QC, has been practising criminal law for over 25 years, navigating Britain’s fractured justice system from within. He has looked into the eyes of murderers, acted for notorious criminals and listened to the tangled tales woven by fraudsters, money launderers and drug barons. Yet his work takes place at the heart of a system at breaking point - one which is failing perpetrators, victims and society - and now he is convinced that something must change.  

For most of us the criminal law only matters when we are victims of crime or are called for jury service. But what if everything we have been told about crime and punishment is wrong? 

What if the whole criminal justice system is a catastrophic waste of money, churning out lifelong criminals, dragging children into court from as young as 10 and fighting a war on drugs that can never be won?  

Drawing on his own fascinating case histories and global reporting, including the 2019 London Bridge attacks, Alabama’s prison system and one of Britain’s most dramatic mass shootings, Daw presents a radical new set of solutions for crime and punishment. By turns shocking, moving and pragmatic, Justice on Trial offers rare inside access to a system in crisis and a road map to a future beyond the binary of ‘good’ and ‘evil’.

©2020 Chris Daw QC (P)2020 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic reviews

"A shocking, disturbing, revealing and enlightening examination of a deeply flawed criminal justice system by someone who’s seen at first hand what the problems are, and more importantly, knows how they should be fixed." (Piers Morgan) 

"Fast-paced, engaging and littered with fascinating and often shocking real-life cases, Daw portrays a judicial system that’s broken from the lowest courts to the toughest prisons in the land, suggesting solutions that are as provocative as they are persuasive." (Matthew Wright, broadcaster)

"A hard hitting, page turning account of the failures of our criminal justice system describing through some of the author’s own cases not only how our system evolved but also why it fails to deliver to the public the protection they deserve." (Cherie Blair, QC)

What listeners say about Justice on Trial

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Dull

Started off okay but was dull in the end. Didn’t really explain what happens in the Court room it was more like a history lesson

3 people found this helpful

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A MUST read for every single person in the World

I have nearly finished this in just a few days.

It is refreshing, honest, true, inspiring, fresh, compelling, apathetic, understanding, and bloody brilliant.

Whatever walk of the path of life you are currently on - stop and listen/read this book.

I do not disagree with any of what is said infact the opposite, I fully AGREE with everything proposed - as someone who left the criminal bar disheartened about recent events - thank goodness for this book. Finally, someone has come forward and told the world what it needed to wake up and hear.

They don't make you a QC for any reason - and it really does show in this book - Chris, the criminal bar professional, lawyers, musicians, writers, politicians all thank you for making your professional knowledge accessible. EVERYONE NEEDS TO ACCESS THIS GOLD. How fantastic. Now thankfully everybody can access the law, how it got here, why it is here and why ultimately we are in trouble if we don't all raise our voices, open our hearts and minds and demand progress.

THANK YOU CHRIS!!

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Eye opening

Take a step back from what you’ve always been told about punishment, simply listen and think about what’s proposed I think it makes sense.

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A must read!

This QC argues a brilliant case for implementing education and humanity over criminalisation and dehumanisation in the criminal justice system. Evidence based, it also appeals to good ole common sense. Either way its an education in law and humankind.

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Comprehensive, concise, and considered.

A home-run across the court system and retribution based penalties. The crowd are going wild.

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Legalising Drugs in NOT an option

Very interesting view by the author based on his experience, however he lacks the understanding that legalising drugs - just because Vicky & Winston were at it or may be the author himself may be indulging in it or becuase of the conditions people find themselves due to addiction is certainly not the answer. I suggest you travel the world from east to the west and see the lives of people who dont have a support system in their countries whose lives have been blighted by the trade of narcotics.....see the families of people who want to get out of poverty who are forced into the trade by organised gangs....legalising drugs do not stop trafficing....do not stop violence.....do not to stop the abuse of women and children....do not stop destruction of families and communities.....i suggest the author reads The Crack House - Harry Keeble and County Lines - Jason Farrell and Narconomics - Tom Wainwright (why price of drugs will not go up) to get an view from another angle about this problem. One thing is clear - the supply chain needs to be destroyed.....from the farmlands.....to transportation - logistics.....to distribution to end customer.......It is clear most of the people involved throughout the chain are from broken families - so lets work on that with supportive communities where children, men and women are protected and cared for - not abandoned......we need a wholistic approach....stop the supply and clean up our communities......we cant dependd on possible Govt or people in power who may be comprimised due to their own financial gain/interest/greed, etc....to be clear Switzerland in not an ideal example to legalise drugs....its like saying - we cant hang people in filthy clothes, lets dress them up and hang them at least we feel better they look smart......its an extreme example - hopefully you get the idea/point....certainly understand your motivations for writing this book and thank you for bringing this to light but there has to be a better way through this.....

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One easy listening of great interest

if there were more C Daw we would certainly live in a more empathetic , rational and honest world and not just that one of applied justice.

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Criminal Justice on Trial

Have been working within the Criminal Justice System (CJS)for over 48-years and currently teach a session on CJS to police recruits where I ask the question whether the CJS is broken and fit for purpose? This is as an excellent book raising challenging issues, and alternative perspectives that have some merit. Politics and populism provide barriers to progress, but Author suggests ways forward that our political leaders should seriously consider to provide a fairer, safer, and more just society for all. Who is willing to put their head above the parapet? Much food for thought, thank you Chris Daw.

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EYE OPENING AND LIFE CHANGING

This examination of the way British Justice is administered is shocking and life changing. Step by step Chris Daw QC takes the system apart and suggests far more effective ways to put it back together again. What you get6 is a compelling argument for a complete overhaul of an outdated, outmoded and utterly unsuitable justice system.

Daw regularly makes comparisons between the UK and US system and his argument against the UK going down the same route as the Americans is brutally honest and terrifying. The United States is a shambles when it comes to administering justice and its prison population is now the equivalent to one of the largest cities in the country. American justice serves no one but corrupt or power hungry politicians and self service corporations who keep the system going for personal gain.

This is a book everyone needs to read. And in the Covid era - and whenever we emerge from it - its ideas and philosophy will prove more important.

On the performance side, Daw is a Barrister not a voice over artist but his delivery is honest and very easy to listen to. I played my audio version at 1.5x normal speed. It works really well.

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Everyone involved in criminal law should read this book

I have been involved in criminal law for almost 30 years and I agree with all that Chris says but, in particular, the chapter about legalising drugs - that would help so many addicts + their families AND put so many criminal gangs out of business - it would benefit all of us.