The Secret Barrister

The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken

Non-Fiction, Biography & Memoir, Literary Biography & Memoir
Paperback Published on: 04/04/2019
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Bookseller Reviews

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The Secret Barrister
Brilliant read.
A witty and informative book about the UK law system.
Sam Morcom
The Secret Barrister
Horrifyingly brilliant
With the rise of biographical tales we’ve seen in the past couple of years, I was eager to read one from a legal perspective. Be prepared to be horrified a... READ MORE
Poppy Smalley


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: 273g
  • Dimensions: 196 x 130 x 31 mm

Customer Reviews

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The Secret Barrister
Phillip Taylor MBE
The Secret Barrister
The envy of the world
Surely British Justice is the paradigm by which all other legal systems should be judged? Not so, according to the anonymous - but clearly exceptionally we... READ MORE
Richard Watson
The Secret Barrister
Good, but wordy
I enjoyed this book, but I found that you needed to have basic knowledge of the law/legal processes or you couldn't quite work out what he was saying, and ... READ MORE
Leah Chapman
The Secret Barrister
one of my standout reads of the past couple of years
Like many I thought, by cleverly breaking no laws, this stuff would never affect me... Not only is that not necessarily true but more importantly it deserv... READ MORE
Neil Ashcroft
The Secret Barrister
The sorry state of the law and why you should be concerned
An engaging first hand review of the English and a Welsh legal system, through the eyes of a junior barrister writing anonymously. No background understand... READ MORE
Gareth Schofield
The Secret Barrister
Unfunny secret barrister
This book was a bit long winded for me, not as amusing as I thought it was going to be. It’s very rare that I give up on a book but after plodding on for h... READ MORE
Catherine Harvey
The Secret Barrister
Excellent book
I found this to be a great book. Written by a guy who clearly has the experience and knowledge to dissect the subject matter. Despite having a bit of k... READ MORE
Simon Tate
The Secret Barrister
Unable to finish
I confess I was expecting/looking forward to, anecdotes about legal cases - especially if humorous. This book, however, is a very serious, non-fiction rea... READ MORE
Fiona Debling
The Secret Barrister
Not what I expected
This was not a good read, in fact I gave up halfway through. I wouldn’t recommend it and won’t be buying anything else by this author.
Tim Mallett
The Secret Barrister
Difficult reading
As the daughter of a barristers clerk I read this book with hopes of gaining insight into what the world of lawyers and clerks is like. Instead I received ... READ MORE
Isabel Fowler
The Secret Barrister
A touch dry, but entirely eye opening -- a must read for every British citizen
PSA: This isn't the easiest book to read. That's because the people who work in the justice system use a necessarily different vocabulary, and try as they ... READ MORE
Gabriela Miron
The Secret Barrister
An eye opening yet scary look at our Criminal Justice System
I've had my eye on this book for quite a while, finally got round to it during lockdown - If you are a University law student wanting some insightful readi... READ MORE
Ben Lett
The Secret Barrister
Thoroughly enjoyed throughout.
Ellie Sands
The Secret Barrister
A book written by a man for men
I have followed the Secret Barrister for some years. The comments that he leaves to young women working in the profession are appalling. I saw him refer to... READ MORE
Atali khan
The Secret Barrister
Informative about the legal system
An interesting book which should be read by all students contemplating becoming a Barrister or Criminal Lawyer. The cut in legal aid is worrying to say the... READ MORE
Elaine Scott
The Secret Barrister
5 star for the penmanship, 0 star for the justice system
Quite the eye-opener. I loved the book, and but I'm more convinced than ever before that the justice system is rotten. Despite the writer's robust defense ... READ MORE