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

by The Secret Barrister

Audiobook Link: The Secret Barrister

Overview

Wow… Just wow…

When I started reading The Secret Barrister I expected to hear about funny stories, how ridiculous people acted in court but that is not what I found at all. What I found was that the British legal system is a mess.

This was a very informative book and the audiobook narration was done very well. It wasn’t the easiest book to finish, taking me nearly a month to complete, but it was well worth the read.

Despite this, it is a book I was eager to review, and wrote the review immediately after finishing reading it.
I feel strongly that while this book was not the most interesting, not the type you start reading and finish the same day, it is one that has had the greatest impact on me in recent times. No wonder it is a #1 best seller.

I paid £4.99 for the kindle edition, and £2.99 for the audiobook.

Story

At the beginning of this book a lot of time was spent explaining the different type of trials that could happen. For example, what type of cases get a jury and which don’t. As someone who has never been to court in England, and as someone who also is not natively from England, I knew nothing of the legal system. I mean, I watch PMQ’s in the House of Commons religiously and have enjoyed watching John Bercow screaming ORDER! ORDER! but I had no idea how the rest of the legal system worked.

I would say I was shocked at learning how few are allowed a trial by jury and even more shocked to learn that if you earn over a certain amount of money the government will not provide you representation. If your household income is over £37,500 for crown court, you are SOL. I tried googling this, I tried checking the governments websites. I spent at least five to ten minutes searching specific terms, and reading the governments own documents: Government Legal Aid Guidance . I was lost, I couldn’t find anything useful easily, just links to pdfs with a hundred pages or more.

I learned that if you lose you have to pay the other sides cost? Except, the government doesn’t pay in full your cost if you lose. I learned so many things that I would never have been able to find by looking at legal documents myself. The book goes on to explain how things work, and the pitfalls of the different types of courts. I wish I could say that none of it went over my head, but some of it did. Even so, I feel like I learned invaluable information from this book.

The book discussed the criminal courtroom, The Magistrates’ Court, legal aid, how sentencing works, how much people who are defending or prosecuting are paid, and real stories of things that happened.

I really can not recommend this book enough for anyone interested in how parts of the law or court work in England.

Audiobook

The audiobook was narrated by Jack Hawkins and this is the first book that I have listened to narrated by Jack. It is 11 hours and 51 minutes long. I think he did a very good job and I even was picturing the barrister, with his voice. For the most part he really helped me stay focused and hooked on the story even when some parts were getting a bit boring. He did a great job at speaking as if he was having an actual conversation with the reader, something I found useful with topics that can sometimes be a bit boring.

Recommended For

I would recommend this book for anyone who lives in England or the U.K. Do you know the laws? Do you know how the courts work? I didn’t and from what I learned in this book, it seems like there is a lot that people don’t know and people don’t know the flaws of the systems. Those flaws won’t ever be changed if the people are uninformed and the government really needs to do a better job at informing the public on how these things work. Until then, this book does just that.

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