The Secret Barrister is a junior barrister specialising in criminal law. This blog aims to provide a fly-on-the-wall view of the criminal justice system, and of life at the Criminal Bar in general. 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. These pages aim 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.

This blog does not pretend to be a specialist authority or a substitute for formal legal advice. It merely attempts to present a candid and accessible account of the reality of the criminal law in action, and to occasionally provide a rebuttal to popular misconceptions endorsed by politicians and the media.

The Secret Barrister has written for the The Times, New Statesman, iNews, Esquire, Counsel Magazine and Solicitors Journal, and has had copy distributed by The Sun, The Mirror and Huffington Post.

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) and the Aberdeen Law Project.

The Secret Barrister’s first book and Sunday Times Bestseller, “Stories of The Law and How It’s Broken”, was published by Pan Macmillan in March 2018, and is available to buy here. Please direct any enquiries to Chris Wellbelove at chris@aitkenalexander.co.uk.


29 thoughts on “About

  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. I appreciate I am unable to comment on your post regarding the Ched Evans case, and why. But, on a more-general point, might the original Evans case have been a pointer towards the use of the Scots Law “Not Proven” verdict in English Law.

    Would you like to discuss this?


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  9. Could you write about the Vagrancy laws of 2016 and how they criminalise and discriminate against temporarily homeless EU citizens (Romanians, Polish) being deported, despite these citizens exercising treaty rights as workers or jobseekers? This is a political issue as well as a criminal justice and equality issue.


  10. 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!


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  12. 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


  13. 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.


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  15. 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.


  16. 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.


  17. 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.


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