Author: the Secret Barrister
Genre: Biography, Legal, True Crime
Format: Hardcover 384 pages
Release Date: 22nd March 2018
My Rating: ∗∗∗∗∗
I work within the criminal justice system here in the UK and originally saw this book advertised in a legal newsletter that made it’s way into my inbox. Told anonymously, by a Barrister working on the front lines, allows the author to write an unbiased account of the successes and failures of our justice system.
‘did you know that working on some cases a legal aid barrister earns less per hour than a coffee shop barista?’
Apart from my obvious interest in the book as it’s relevant to the field I work in, the quote that really pulled me in and made me want to read this book was the quote above.
I was quite stunned by that last comment as I always had the perception that Barristers were these lofty high-flying individuals, swanning around London with their fancy cars and iPhones. Whilst that may be true of some Barristers, I have now since learned that the perception I once had of members of this profession has not always necessarily been an accurate one.
The book gives quite a lot of history into the background of how our justice system has evolved, for example, the author goes into some depth of how Magistrates came to be and how their purpose and role have changed over time. Whilst at the time of reading those sections I felt like this would probably go over the head of anyone not involved in the legal system, in hindsight, this background was very much needed. Because how was can begin to understand where it all went wrong if we don’t look back on how it started and evolved?
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the whole book is doom and gloom and the ranting’s of someone jaded by the system. There is very much a silver lining to the dark cloud painted by the author as the UK justice system. You can feel from the tone of the book that the author very much admires the system and has huge hope and potential for what it could be. That being said, there also are some worrying truths thrown in there also. I won’t spoil them for you, the book needs to be read in its entirety to appreciate the gravity of what the author is trying to get at.
For anyone who has ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of our justice system, and whether what we see on the television is true to life, then this book should fall at the top of your reading list. This book was a real eye-opener and left me hoping and praying that I don’t fall foul of the law that is meant to be there to protect me like some of the characters in this book have. As the author describes, even those of us law abiding citizens can find ourselves under scrutiny which does not always result in our favour, even when innocent.
This is one of those rare reads that really made me sit up and want to do something. I don’t know what that ‘something’ is yet. But the way the secret barrister describes the state of our justice system sounds like a cry for help and I hope this book is read and shared by many and that the issues contained within it are given a louder voice than they currently have.
You can buy your copy from Amazon here: