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Summary

A BBC Radio 4 book of the week.

From the number one best-selling author, a memoir full of hilarious, personal and surprising stories from their working life. This is the Secret Barrister at their very best.

Just how do you become a barrister? And why do only one per cent of those who study law succeed in joining this mysteriously opaque profession? If it’s such a great occupation, how come you work 100-hour weeks for less than minimum wage? And why might a practising barrister come to feel the need to reveal the lies, secrets, failures and crises at the heart of this world of wigs and gowns?

Nothing but the Truth charts an outsider’s progress down the winding path towards practising at the Bar, taking in the sometimes absurd traditions of the Inns of Court, where every meal mandates a glass of port and a toast to the queen, to the Hunger Games-type contest for pupillage, through the endlessly frustrating experience of being a junior barrister—as a creaking, ailing justice system begins to convince them that something has to change....

Full of hilarious, shocking and surprising stories from their working life, Nothing but the Truth tracks the Secret Barrister’s transformation from hang ‘em and flog ‘em, austerity-supporting 20-something to campaigning, best-selling reforming author whose writing in defence of the law is celebrated around the globe. It asks questions about what we understand by justice and what it takes to change our minds. It also reveals the darker side of working in criminal law and how the things our justice system gets wrong are not the things most people expect.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Macmillan Publishers International Limited (P)2022 Macmillan Publishers International Limited

Critic reviews

"The SB is a gifted writer. Words tumble out with extraordinary fluency...entertaining and instructive." (Times)

What listeners say about Nothing but the Truth

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Shines a bright light!

I have listened carefully to all three books by the SB and believe she was clearly destined to write a detailed critique of her experiences of the criminal justice system in England and Wales to shine a bright light for those of us with a genuine and objective interest in the delivery of criminal justice for both victims of crime and their perpetrators.

In this latest book the SB takes us on her personal journey of discovery. Her early years experience of defending and prosecuting cases in both the Magistrates and Crown Courts are vividly shared with the reader and listener.

All Lord Chancellors should read all three books: The Secret Barrister; Fake Law and this the latest instalment before they set one foot in the offices of the Ministry of Justice. The SB’s books will be a fast acting antidote to the poison of popular political criminal justice rhetoric.

I look forward to more books by the SB when she takes Silk and her journey onto the bench...

2 people found this helpful

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More autobiographical

I slightly preferred the original 'The Secret Barrister', so if you are only reading one maybe go for that, but if you loved the first (as I did) then this is an enjoyable sequel.

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once again .. magnificent

SB continues to educate, entertain and horrify readers with tales and opinions of the criminal justice system as a whole, great to hear their story so far and hoping they manage to stay sane and continue their mostly thankless work inside it and hope the money from these books gives back some of the delta to what we should be paying them and their colleagues.
Plus it makes me laugh whilst out on my daily walks .. followed usually by annoyance or sorrow.

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Impressive writing & narration.

Quite an insight into the machinations of English law. Underfunding has a knock-on effect for the whole of the UK. Top barristers both private practice & public servants could help by accepting more relatable incomes. No?

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Don't be a Barrister!

My preconcetion that all Barristers were on mega bucks. This proved in the narrative that it is a fallacy. Poor pay, long unsociable hours etc have been confirmed, with the exception of QC's A insightful view of the legal system, which sounds totally broken. Thank god I didn't study law at university.

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Yawn

Tedious beyond belief. Gave up! Save your credits. Jack Hawkins did his best to instill some life - but it was an uphill struggle.

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New light on the law!

I really enjoyed this book. it certainly puts a new perspective on the law, or at least what we read about it in the newspapers

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Fascinating insight.

it's a fascinating insight into a world that's often hidden, and it really highlights how poorly we treat the Criminal Justice System in this country.

The book does kind of lose its way towards the end and becomes meandering anecdotes - but they are interesting anecdotes!

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Shocking and entertaining

I’m totally shocked by the dysfunctional, underfunded system described in this book . When will the government act ?!

The high sentences for minor drug crimes compared to abuse against children also leaves me feeling a sense of disbelief. Maybe the men who came up with the sentences have a soft spot for child predators ?

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Another home run from SB and Jack Hawkins

I'll keep it brief; SB's despatches from the front line of criminal law remain as terrifying and as fascinating as ever. Learning of their early Mail-informed opinions and subsequent journey to enlightenment restores my hope in humanity somewhat. Jack Hawkins is a fantastic narrator; he brings SB alive (SB's anonymity helps as there's no 'real thing' to compare to) and gives a real humanity to the author's voice. My only complaint - as is often the case with Audible - is the lack of compression on the audio, which is fine on good headphones but means I'm constantly adjusting the volume in the car on the motorway where I do my listening. Don't let that put you off though! Essential listening for anyone interested in the law (and how its broken).