The Secret Barrister just destroyed the courts service for calling its users ‘customers’

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By Katie King on

This language is a virus, says anonymous advocate

Image via Twitter (@JoshuaRozenberg )

The Secret Barrister, an anonymous advocate who blogs and tweets regularly about the sorry state of criminal justice, has absolutely scolded Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) for using “customers” on one of its signs.

It all began when legal affairs journalist and Legal Cheek Journal author Joshua Rozenberg shared an image of said sign, instantly attracting fierce HMCTS-directed criticism from tweeters. One rightly noted: “They’re not running a corner shop”; another said: “At this rate loyalty card is next.”

Perhaps the biggest burn of all came from the always insightful Secret Barrister. He commented:

Our underfunded, crumbling criminal courts are in chaos, but now-ubiquitous language like this is perhaps most unforgivable of all.

The criminal law whizz went on to explain his hard stance, noting that throughout history the court system has been the preserve of private litigants made to pay for legal representation. But the position has, thankfully, changed:

Those passionate about access to justice will be dismayed to know that this ‘justice for all’ sentiment has been weakened by legal aid cuts, the underfunding of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and more. Public funding rates are so low some junior barristers earn just £2.40 an hour; one top criminal law solicitor told Legal Cheek he’d earn more money working in the pub. The Secret Barrister’s explainer continues:

The use of the words ‘stakeholders’ and ‘customers’ is, the Secret Barrister says, “a virus”. He finishes:

The Twitter thread comes weeks after the Supreme Court got justice-loving lawyers all teary eyed with its employment tribunal fees rulings. The seven-strong bench unanimously decided a ‘fees order’ introduced by Chris Grayling was unlawful, Lord Reed giving a succinct and very quotable whistle stop tour of the rule of law and access to the courts in his ruling. Lawyers loved it:

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