The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken by [Barrister, The Secret]

Today another book club review.
First the official blurb:

You may not wish to think about it, but one day you or someone you love will almost certainly appear in a criminal courtroom. You might be a juror, a victim, a witness or – perhaps through no fault of your own – a defendant. Whatever your role, you’d expect a fair trial.

I’m a barrister. I work in the criminal justice system, and every day I see how fairness is not guaranteed. Too often the system fails those it is meant to protect. The innocent are wronged and the guilty allowed to walk free.

I want to share some stories from my daily life to show you how the system is broken, who broke it and why we should start caring before it’s too late.

My review:

It took me a long time to get into this book. The first few chapters read like an introduction into the legal system and are filled with definitions and legal terminology. While some of this is quite interesting and informative, the book cover promises hilarious and anecdotal writing.
There’s far less of that and the tone of the barrister is at times arrogant and very unlikeable.
I’m glad I persevered, though, because gradually the anecdotes and the flaws in our legal system take more centre stage and make for more rewarding and fascinating reading.
Towards the end much of the educational sections pay off as we get to understand innate biases and problems of our justice systems: freaky statistics, such as higher sentences before midday (hungry judges), how lack of funds really does influence your chances of winning a case and how miscarriages of justice do not guarantee adequate compensation.
So if you free your mind from the wrong expectation that you are about to read a hilarious book you might find quite an insightful and interesting read.

 

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