The Secret Barrister is a junior barrister specialising in criminal law, and part-time author and blogger.

The law can often feel to the public like an alien and impenetrable world, linked to everyday life only by selective news reportage and artistically-licensed tv dramatisation. This blog aims to bridge that gap by providing a candid, and hopefully accessible, explanation of our criminal justice system, of how it works, and of how, all too often, it doesn’t. It also tries to help  to demystify and debunk some of the stranger  or more controversial legal stories that make it into the news.

The Secret Barrister has written for the The Times, The Guardian, New Statesman, iNews, Standpoint, Esquire, Counsel Magazine and Solicitors Journal, and is regularly quoted across print and broadcast media, including BBC News, Channel 4 News, The Sun, The Mirror, the Daily Mail, the Huffington Post and the Evening Standard.

In 2016 and 2017, the Secret Barrister was named Independent Blogger of the Year at the Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards. In 2018, the Secret Barrister was named Legal Personality of The Year at the Law Society Awards.

The Secret Barrister is a patron of FRU (Free Representation Unit).

The Secret Barrister’s first book and Sunday Times No.1 Bestseller, “Stories of The Law and How It’s Broken”, was published by Pan Macmillan in March 2018, and was in the top-ten bestseller list for over a year. It won the Books Are My Bag Non Fiction Award 2018, and was shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year and Specsavers Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2018. It is available to buy here.

Their second book, “Fake Law”, was published by Picador in September 2020, and was immediately a Sunday Times bestseller. It is available to buy here.

Their third book, “Nothing But The Truth”, was published by Picador in May 2022, and was immediately a Sunday Times bestseller. It is available to buy here.

In 2020, Channel 4 News produced a four-part documentary series, The Secret Barrister: Disordered Justice. The series can be viewed here.

Please direct any enquiries to Chris Wellbelove at

27 Replies

  1. So pleased to have stumbled upon your blog after reading your myth busting piece on Ched Evans. I’m a home educator tutoring my son through GCSE law and suspect that we’ll be visiting here often!

  2. Dear Secret Barrister…
    I have no idea who you are, and actually do not want to know, but I thought that your article (included in a link by my friend Serena Mackesy on Facebook) was undoubtedly the definitive summary of the whole Ched Evans conundrum, and so much more informative than anything in the press…
    I am not a lawyer, and am not even particularly concerned about Mr Evans, but I am really interested in what you have to say…
    Keep up the good work. You have a stellar future ahead of you!

  3. Saw your tweet of 8 Dec re spelling of judgment. Wrote to the Times typo lady recently aand received reply that The Times’ spelling of (court) judgment is ‘judgement.’
    And BBC use both. Depends on authorship?
    Pbilippe Sands’ excellent book East West Street, in its English paperback edition used ‘judgement.’ I understand that Weidenfeld and Nicholson use that form.
    Has the world gone mad? I can’t find any domestic or international court or tribunal that uses ‘judgement.’
    Can you lay claim to a sphere of influence which might transform this nonsense??
    Thirty years in the justice system and I am perplexed!

  4. Dear SB,
    Just a quick note to say I have just finished your book and found it really helpful and inspiring (if a little daunting)…. I am starting a criminal and family pupillage in 3 weeks!
    Cheers 🙂
    James Howard

  5. I was a Constable with the Met from 1985 to 1997 and was in at the birth of the CPS. The system was creaking through the 90s and the content of your book was depressingly familiar and sadly amplified. The need for an independent judiciary and bar has never been more pressing. Your book is a well presented argument for greater investment in all the elements that contribute to a legal system which is fair, just and deserving of respect.

  6. I have just read your book. So took a look at the web site. The scalpel you wield with such breathtaking forensic dillgence is simply breathtaking. The country would be in such a better place if our Legislators (and the Media) adopted the same scrutiny. Alas, they operate in blinkers, earplugs and oven gloves! Your line by line anatomy of Mr Johnson’s Telegraph column seriously worries me – bearing in mind he’s the bookies favourite to become Prime Minister of the UK! Are the runners and riders in that race (“talent pool”!!) the best we can come up with? I’m losing hope and the will to live! But keep up the great work.

  7. Dear Secret Barrister,
    Your otherwise interesting and insightful book “The Secret Barrister” was marred by the statement “hanging remained for murder and treason until the abolition of the death penalty in 1965”. The death penalty for murder was temporarily suspended in 1965 and finally abolished in 1969. It remained for arson in a dockyard until 1971, espionage until 1981, piracy and treason until 1998.
    Other than that it was a very interesting book.

  8. I’ve just finished reading your book whilst on holiday. As a commercial lawyer, I found it a fascinating and sobering read. The profession as a whole should be taking a stance about the issues you raise. I wonder how/if this can happen. Thank you so much for writing the book – it’s really made me stop and think about how any one of us should be concerned about the issues you raise. You’re a hero – keep up the good fight.

  9. Great book. And a great service done by it. Two things struck me from this morning’s news about Harvey Proctor getting (a substantial contribution to?) the costs of his defence – poor Nigel Evans, except that he voted for it; and also getting significant compensation – eat you heart out Victor Nealon.
    As Fawlty Towers’ Manuel might have asked – ‘Que?’

  10. I have recently enjoyed your sometimes quite worrying book, The Secret Barrister. Going off at a tangent slightly, have you seen the 1960’s TV series ‘Scales of Justice, airing presently on theTalking Pictures TV ? It maybe a nod back to happier times in the justice profession for people like yourselves who are akin to today’s shenanigans!
    Keep up the good work,

    Kind regards,

    Tim Middlecoate, Grimsby.

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