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The Secret Barrister Reviews

The Secret Barrister by The Secret Barrister

The Secret Barrister

Stories of the Law and How It's Broken

The Secret Barrister

4.55 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Picador
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication date: 22 Mar 2018
ISBN: 9781509841103

An anonymous barrister writes a darkly comic, provocative and moving first-hand account of life in the legal system and how it's failing us all

3 Prizes for The Secret Barrister

The British Book Awards
2019 Shortlist: Non-fiction Narrative Book of the Year

Alice O’Keeffe, Books Editor at The Bookseller, said: “Our shortlists this year took the judges from Georgian London to the Second World War to contemporary New York. There are books from exciting fresh voices at the very start of their career, contrasted with books from with well-established brand authors at the top of their game. These are the books that sum up 2018 but which, we think, will be read for years to come.”

Books are my Bag Reader Awards
2018 Winner

WInner: Non-Fiction

Waterstones Book of the Year
2018 Shortlist

For most, criminal justice is either a misrepresented component of television drama or a vague notion of an arcane, almost medieval practice with dubious outcome. The Secret Barrister does for criminal justice what Henry Marsh’s Do No Harm did for medicine, a tour-de-force of lived experience and knowledge, revealing the hidden cracks in our legal crown. With its injustices and anger, humour and sorrow, this powerful indictment of the British justice system emerges as one of the year’s truly necessary releases.

Reviews

5 stars out of 5
Olivia Potts
7 Jul 2018

"this immensely impressive volume manages to make a subject that is bleak and dry utterly compelling."

The Secret Barrister’s book is a call to arms: a desperate, last-ditch attempt to open the eyes of those outside the profession to the injustices which exist within our justice system. Yet it remains an optimistic book, offering answers and solutions. Occasionally, chunks of prose do feel as though they’d begun life as discrete blog posts, but this immensely impressive volume manages to make a subject that is bleak and dry utterly compelling.

  • The GuardianBook of the Day
4 stars out of 5
Afua Hirsch
28 Apr 2018

"...at its deepest level, it is not about the criminal justice system at all. The Secret Barrister writes about our idea of ourselves as a nation"

But what’s so powerful about The Secret Barrister is its ability to connect the dots – from changes to something as seemingly mundane as criminal procedure rules, to the state of prisons – revealing a picture that is more a commentary on society as a whole than it is on robing rooms full of horsehair wigs... But at its deepest level, it is not about the criminal justice system at all. The Secret Barrister writes about our idea of ourselves as a nation, an England still so confident in its principles and workings of democracy and justice. 

4 stars out of 5
Imran Mahmood
24 Mar 2018

"The message of this entertaining book is delivered with great skill."

The message of this entertaining book is delivered with great skill. It’s true that I am a long-serving chorister being preached to by my local priest, but with the evidence laid out, I was surprised again and again at how damaged the system is. The book is at once a lament and a celebration. It tells us that the liberty of the individual depends on us regarding the justice system as not just for criminals and victims but for all of us — it is the symbol of our nation’s humanity.