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Summary

'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 world of the Secret Barrister. These are the stories of life inside the courtroom. They are sometimes funny, often moving and ultimately life-changing.

How can you defend a child abuser you suspect to be guilty? What do you say to someone sentenced to 10 years whom 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. 

Both a searing firsthand 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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our desktop site.

©2018 The Secret Barrister (P)2018 Macmillan Digital Audio

Critic reviews

 "Eye-opening, damning and hilarious." (Tim Shipman, author of All Out War and Fall Out

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A superb dissection of the English legal system

I found this a riveting account of the strengths and weaknesses of the English legal system in criminal cases. The author writes with verve and passion that kept me gripped throughout. He charts the history of how English law has evolved over the centuries and how it differs from that in other countries before dissecting the failures in how it operates in the 21st century.

While many things are to be lauded about English Law in practice it is abundantly clear from this book that excessive financial cuts are undermining justice. It is a telling statistic, that the cost of giving the over 75s free TV licences costs more than the funds allocated to run the Crown Prosecution Service. The latter creaking under the weight of too much work and too few people to do it so that justice is compromised. Cuts to the police and legal aid budgets mean that trials are not adequately prepared. Cynical politicians, who respond to populist opinion fuelled by the gutter press calculate that they can cut the justice budget to the bone without losing votes. The popular view of fat-cat lawyers obviously does not apply to those toiling in criminal cases.

The author gives chilling examples of people wrongly accused of a crime who don’t qualify for legal aid (a facility greatly curtailed by recent governments) who even when found innocent are left massively out of pocket with no redress. Even worse are those wrongly convicted, often spending many years in prison, who eventually are shown to be innocent but don’t qualify for any compensation as penny-pinching governments made the criteria to be eligible for compensation so stringent that few receive any redress.

I greatly enjoyed this book but was left depressed by the spectre of even more miscarriages of justice occurring owing to sub-standard trial preparation.

The narrator is excellent and injects the text with the justifiable outrage felt by the author.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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everyone one should read

i cannot express strongly enough how important this book is. buy it. read it. share it and absorb what it says and means. you never know when its implications will affect you or those you love

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

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A funny, interesting narrative about life as a barrister

It wasn’t what I thought I was buying but I was unexpectedly hooked from the beginning.
I thought it would be a confessional type thing but it was a highly informative, amusing and sometimes sad look at the British judicial system and how lacking it can be. What I have been left pondering is the truism of ‘better a guilty man go free than an innocent man be wrongly convicted’
I really want to do jury service now!

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Incredible in every aspect

The authorship is perfect. The narration is perfect with a delivery that cannot be mastered. This is a must read book for ANY UK citizen. This is a must share book for everyone.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Things I didn't know, I didn't know.

Certainly a book I'd recommend to anyone interested in the law or Politics. an eye opener to the possibilities of what can happen to you, and what it will cost you and why the law is the way it is. I hope there is an intention for more of the same. Very real, very alarming .

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • j
  • 04-05-18

Everyone should read this book

You never know when it could be you or your loved one who is a victim of crime or accused of a crime. The failings of our justice system in its current state will affect all.
Fantastic read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Excellent in sight into a world we pray to avoid

Such a fascinating listen. The author clearly loves a system that needs some urgent help and they get it across in a humorous style. The system sounds frankly terrifying and I hope I'm never involved. It is well narrated, with the tone of the author excellently reflected. Must listen to anyone interested in our legal system.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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"The criminal justice system is on its knees"

What made the experience of listening to The Secret Barrister the most enjoyable?

Not enjoyable but shocking what a perilous state our criminal justice system is in. The author has articulated the chronic situation in a way the laymen can understand. Compulsive reading (listening).

What other book might you compare The Secret Barrister to, and why?

"The end of the World" A guide to Armeggedon.

What about Jack Hawkins’s performance did you like?

Well read and appropriate. Assuming the SB is a young man.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Cry, almost. If, like me, you had a misty-eyed sense of British justice you are in for a shock. Basically don't be a witness and be very fearful of being taken to a criminal (or worse, magistrates) court for a crime you didn't commit.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fascination listening material.

This audiobook provides a fascination insight of the day to day workings of the uk legal system, highlights the issues with the system as it stands today, but also gives an insight into the real worlds of solicitors and barristers.
Thoroughly enjoyed the narrative and listened intently to the highs and lows of daily life working on the uk legal system.
Highly recommended if you want a no frills look into today’s legal system.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Shocking, eye opening, inspirational + terrifying

As a criminologist this is admittedly my kinda thing, however this book sussinctly and clearly explains the everyday practical experiences at the coal face of criminal justice whilst coherently explaining why the canary is looking a little peaky.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful