The Secret Barrister writes under this pseudonym in order to speak frankly — and in this book they let loose on the state of the legal system in Britain. The poor management of CPS, the decimation of legal aid, the Innocence Tax, and all the ways that the government (not just the Tories, but perhaps mostly) have messed up our adversarial system, prioritising statistics over justice… while arguably failing to properly prosecute many cases as paperwork slips and overworked CPS employees fail to come up with the goods.
The title might trick you into thinking that this is going to be juicy gossip about defending the indefensible and prosecuting the most egregious crimes, but instead the Secret Barrister has several bees in his bonnet (or wig, as the case may be) and they really let it rip. I barely understood our legal system before, and now I know two things: 1) I’m writing to the chocolate teapot I have to call my MP, for all the good he does (Dan Jarvis, I’m looking at you and your constant banging on about veterans like they’re the only constituents that matter; are you planning on replying to any of my letters anytime soon?) and 2) staying the hell away from the courts.
I don’t know how my sister can want to be a lawyer, ye gods. I mean, obviously it’s not all criminal law, but… yipes.
And yes, there are one or two awful stories of justice gone awry, if that’s what you’re interested in. But instead, I recommend it as a way to get a handle on what our legal system really does, how it ought to work, and a little about what the government could be doing about it. It isn’t always an easy read, but the Secret Barrister writes clearly; law isn’t always something you can feel passionate about, but I am fully convinced of the Secret Barrister’s dedication to their work… and their desire to improve our system.