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The Secret Barrister

The Truth About Justice in an Age of Lies

4.7 (32 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

Fake Law by The Secret Barrister exposes how the legal system in the UK doesn't always deliver justice for all. It reveals how misplaced trust in the law can lead to grave injustices.

Table of Contents

    Fake Law
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    Key idea 1 of 7

    Fake law tells us that homeowners defending themselves are treated like criminals.

    If an Englishman’s home is his castle, these days it may seem he no longer has the right to defend it. Consider the infamous case of Tony Martin, a farmer who was convicted of murder in 2000, for shooting dead an intruder who broke into his farmhouse in the middle of the night. Martin was described in the popular press as a hero and a tragic example of how the law turns innocent homeowners into criminals.

    But, in reality, English law clearly states that you can defend yourself, your family, and your property against intruders.

    The key message here is: Fake law tells us that homeowners defending themselves are treated like criminals.

    Under English self-defense laws, even killing can be legally permissible as long your actions fulfill two vital criteria.

    First, you must have believed that using force was necessary to protect yourself from harm. Crucially, it doesn’t matter if you’re correct in this assumption, it only matters that you genuinely thought, at that moment, that your life was in danger. For instance, if you seriously injure a masked attacker who runs at you with a machete, and afterward realize that it was actually a children’s entertainer dressed as Winnie the Pooh, then you could still claim that you acted in self-defense.

    Second, your response must be proportionate to the threat you face. For example, if someone slaps you and your response is to shoot them, then you’d struggle to convince a jury that you acted reasonably.

    Convicted homeowner, Tony Martin, claimed that he suddenly came face to face with the home intruders, but the truth was far more sinister. Instead, Martin heard the intruders approaching his house. While they were still in his garden, Martin silently dressed, loaded his gun, and went downstairs. Then, he lay in wait until he was sure that the intruders had entered and couldn’t escape. Finally, he shot to kill.

    Rather than believing that he was defending himself and his property, Martin appointed himself judge, jury, and executioner that night, using deadly, and wholly disproportionate, force.

    So, he wasn’t convicted because the law is biased against homeowners, but because he failed to meet either of the vital criteria for self-defense.

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    What is Fake Law about?

    Fake Law (2020) examines the truth behind some of Britain’s most infamous crimes and criminal trials. Packed with insights into how the law really works, these blinks explore the disconnect between the reality of the justice system, and how it’s portrayed in the media.

    Fake Law Review

    Fake Law (2020) by The Secret Barrister is an eye-opening exploration of how our justice system really works and why it often fails us. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It presents compelling cases that highlight the flaws and injustices of our legal system, shedding light on the gap between perception and reality.
    • With meticulous research and sharp analysis, it brings to light the misconceptions and misunderstandings that surround law and order in today's society.
    • The book's ability to clearly explain complex legal concepts with clarity and wit makes it an engaging and accessible read, ensuring that it definitely isn't boring.

    Best quote from Fake Law

    The rule of law requires that all of us – from Crown to citizens – be governed by and subject to the democratically created laws of the land.

    —The Secret Barrister
    example alt text

    Who should read Fake Law?

    • True crime fans
    • Law students looking for a fresh perspective
    • Anyone interested in current affairs

    About the Author

    The Secret Barrister is the anonymous pen name of a successful barrister, whose mission is to demystify the law for the average citizen. Their writing has appeared in such publications as the Guardian, the Times, and Esquire, and their first book, The Secret Barrister, was a Sunday Times best seller.

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    Fake Law FAQs 

    What is the main message of Fake Law?

    The main message of Fake Law is that the legal system in the UK is flawed and misinterpreted by the public.

    How long does it take to read Fake Law?

    The reading time for Fake Law varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in about 15 minutes.

    Is Fake Law a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Fake Law is worth reading as it sheds light on the shortcomings of the legal system, helping readers better understand the complexities of the UK law.

    Who is the author of Fake Law?

    The author of Fake Law is The Secret Barrister.

    What to read after Fake Law?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Fake Law, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Lawyers, Liars and the Art of Storytelling by Jonathan Shapiro
    • Unfair by Adam Benforado
    • The Secret Barrister by The Secret Barrister
    • Doing Justice by Preet Bharara
    • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
    • Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg
    • Forensics by Val McDermid
    • I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
    • The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord
    • A Passage to India by E. M. Forster