The Secret Barrister Book Summary - The Secret Barrister Book explained in key points
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The Secret Barrister summary

Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken

4 (29 ratings)
21 mins

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'The Secret Barrister' by 'The Secret Barrister' gives an eye-opening insight into the UK's justice system, revealing the broken and underfunded structure and the human cost of its failures.

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    The Secret Barrister
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    The criminal justice system of England and Wales has its own rules and traditions.

    Even if you didn’t grow up in the United Kingdom, you’ve probably seen a TV show or movie featuring a scene in a British courtroom. You may even have wondered, why are they wearing those peculiar wigs and gowns?

    Like many aspects of the criminal justice system in England and Wales, the gowns and wigs are part of a long tradition going back hundreds of years. Before we get into some of the traditions that may need revising, let’s first look at what this system really entails.

    As in justice systems in many other places, an English or Welsh criminal trial will involve a judge, a jury and the person accused of the crime. Then there are barristers and solicitors.

    Since the fourteenth century, there’s been a distinction made in English courts between the courtroom-based lawyer who presents the prepared cases to the court – the barrister – and the solicitor, the lawyer who deals directly with the witnesses while advising both the barrister and the client. As we’ll see, there are good solicitors who advocate tirelessly on behalf of their clients, and exploitative solicitors who give lawyers a bad name.

    Another important piece of the criminal justice puzzle is the Crown Prosecution Service, or CPS. This is a relatively new addition to the system, established in 1985 with the Prosecution of Offenses Act. Prior to that, the police were responsible for charging suspects with a crime, but in an effort to improve consistency and efficiency in filing charges and preparing cases across all of England and Wales, the CPS was created. Now, every case goes through the CPS machinery for preparation before landing in the hands of the barrister.

    It’s worth noting that, unlike in some other countries, barristers who handle criminal cases, like the author, regularly bounce between serving for the defense and prosecution, sometimes within the same day. This may sound unusual, but in the author’s experience, doing so can make you a better, more well-rounded lawyer. After all, knowing first-hand how both sides of the adversarial process operate can only make you better at knowing what to expect before your case begins.

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    What is The Secret Barrister about?

    The Secret Barrister (2019) takes a behind-the-scenes look at the often chaotic and frighteningly disorganized world of England and Wales’ criminal justice system. As revealed by an experienced criminal barrister, the current system is woefully underfunded and suffering from a lack of resources, yet is also under threat from proposed reforms that would impose further cuts. However, there are some reasonable ways for the system to improve.

    The Secret Barrister Review

    The Secret Barrister (2018) is an eye-opening exposé on the flaws and injustices of the British legal system. Here's why this book is a good read:

    • With insider knowledge and expertise, it reveals the hidden truths of the legal profession, shedding light on its complexities and shortcomings.
    • The book navigates through real-life cases and courtroom dramas, giving readers an insider's perspective on the exciting, yet flawed, world of law.
    • Through its compelling storytelling and thought-provoking analysis, the book challenges preconceived notions, keeping readers engaged from start to finish.

    Who should read The Secret Barrister?

    • Students of law and ethics
    • Fans of true crime
    • Advocates for prison reform

    About the Author

    The Secret Barrister is the anonymous pen name of someone with around ten years’ experience working in the criminal justice system of England and Wales, who hopes to make the system more understandable to the average citizen. Their writing has appeared in such publications as the Guardian, the Times and Esquire. The Secret Barrister became a Sunday Times best-seller and was shortlisted for multiple awards.

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    The Secret Barrister FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Secret Barrister?

    The main message of The Secret Barrister is the flaws and injustices within the criminal justice system.

    How long does it take to read The Secret Barrister?

    The reading time for The Secret Barrister varies depending on the reader, but it takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Secret Barrister a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Secret Barrister is an eye-opening and thought-provoking read. It provides valuable insight into the legal system and highlights the need for reform.

    Who is the author of The Secret Barrister?

    The author of The Secret Barrister remains anonymous.

    What to read after The Secret Barrister?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Secret Barrister, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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