I know very little about the law. My sister studied law, I did a bit of studying as part of my journalism degree and I use really dull local government law as part of my job. But I’ve always gone through life thinking that, apart from maybe getting called up for jury duty, I’ll probably be safe from getting entangled in the justice system.
Yeah, well, The Secret Barrister’s here to disabuse you of that notion.
This is a hell of an eye-opener. Like education- the sector I left two years ago because I’d had enough- and local government (where I work now) and the NHS the justice system has been under-funded and subject to swingeing cuts in the name of austerity and it should be a national travesty. But it’s not, because it doesn’t make good newspaper fodder. Most people think like me, it seems, that it’ll never happen to them. We should be utterly, utterly furious.
Starting at the magistrates’ court and moving through the whole process, we’re given an honest account of what goes on- the good, the bad and the baffling. There are case studies and the author reflects honestly on their role within the system. It seems, too, that there is hope within the despair. It just needs a hell of a lot of work to fix the damage successive governments have inflicted on the courts.
Is this a difficult read? Yes. But it’s an important and entertaining one, too, that’s not without the humour that those who follow The Secret Barrister on Twitter have become used to, and one that helps those of us who haven’t got a clue understand just how important it is that we have a functioning court system. I also found the explanation of how Legal Aid, so often a tabloid punchbag, informative and important. We should know this stuff.