Barristerspeak: A guide for students

By on

‘Secret Barrister’ reveals what members of the bar are actually on about


The anonymous author of the excellent Secret Barrister Blog has penned an amusing guide to the Orwellian use of language by lawyers in court.

The ‘What barrister says Vs What barrister means’ chart, which evokes the work of renowned Legal Cheek contributor Wigapedia, has been doing the rounds on Twitter today.


There is more from the Secret Barrister here.


Not Amusing



Another MC trainee

Funny that these “barristers” are calling the judge ‘your honour’…



Why is that funny?






whats funny here is that this is blood well spot on. essential phrases for the criminal bar.






I dislike this coded legal speak as its very much nudge nudge wink wink.



You forgot about “my instructing solicitor’s helpful instructions” = my instructing solicitor has no clue what he/she is talking about.


Lord Lyle of the Isles

Personally I’ve always adressed a magistrate and a master as sir. I’ve seen advocates address them as your worship and master and it’s cringingy embarrassing



I have personally found that addressing the magistrate as “Mr Dingle” or “Mrs Dongle” tends to be regarded as the most tonally appropriate form of address.


Lord Lyle of the Isles

@Trainee. Google “What do I call a judge”



After receiving a dressing down from a judge, a typical petulant response from counsel is “I hear what you say”, which undisguisedly means “You’re wrong, and I suppose I’ve got to suck it up, but I’ll say so in as a rude a way as I can get away with”.

The judge usually follows up with “Don’t just hear it – act on it!”


Dave Townsend

‘Members of the jury, the standard of criminal proof is very high…’
Translation: Look, I know the evidence is overwhelming in this case so I am hoping that at least three of you are dim enough to believe that the possibility of alien space-bats flying down and hypnotising all the witnesses counts as ‘reasonable doubt’.


Nick O'Brien

Judge.. “I assume that you will want 5 minutes with your client..”
Trans: “I going to give him once last chance to accept that he is going to lose”


Darth by chocolate

This is also what listcallers and ushers hear when a legal rep. starts talking.


Bystander JP

When chairing a court, if asked for five minutes I sometimes enquire whether that will be five earth minutes or five lawyers’ minutes since there is quite a difference between the two.


Comments are closed.