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

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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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I really don’t think the back office member of
staff was making a comment on the nature of the court system when they made that sign.



As far as I’m aware, the courts service still exists, so I don’t think it can be correct to say that it was destroyed.


Not Amused

We live in an age of hyperbole


Positive Penelope

Good scoop LC guys! You’re all smashing it!



Good to see ‘journalism’ alive and well, refreshing blogs and twitter pages of known opinionated people and then trying to convert it into an ‘article’.


Sy the Photo Guy

I’m just trying to preserve a minimum level of service for my customers!!!!


The usher who usually creates these fucking signs

Well done. I’m sure the member of staff, who’s practically on minimum wage, who just learned they are still only getting a 1% pay rise AGAIN this year feels totally ashamed of their actions.

Keep up the good work Secret Barrister.






Well said.



Would you apply that logic to a camp guard?



This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



Really, Legal Cheek?

Do you not see the irony?



Secret Barrister – whoever she is – has said that she is a woman



Yes but does she identify as a woman or does her gender remains fluid and neutral?


Guilty Defendant

So where can I buy me some justice?



I don’t know why you have assumed the Secret Barrister is a man


Legal Cheek Suicide Watch

So, some idiot admin guy on a temp contract typed up ‘customers’ (possibly linguistic residue from his previous job) on a single piece of laminated A4 paper in a single courtroom in a single courthouse the UK, and this is the outrage that resulted?

No wonder the “legal press” only consists of several rag-tag websites and their 25-year old editors.



But these “customer” notices can be seen Throughout the courts and tribunals system


Idiot admin guy on contract.

I didn’t type on laminated paper you fool…I laminated it after I printed it actually!



Secret Barrister is a miserable git.


Gus the Snedger

Gitess, surely?



I think you’ll find it’s “gîte”



Remember, wanking can be fun also!


Gareth Evans

as in all things, that which is imposed on the poor first will eventually be imposed on the rest
we who have to negotiate the DWP in order to survive have had this sort of guff forced upon us since the 80s its the net result of treating public service as a “business”
just like how the offshoring of jobs grew from low skilled call centre work to skilled engineers like me the law and it professional status will be subsumed into a justice assembly line, cut and paste and “dear customer click here for your sentence”
welcome to our world,its not pretty, it doesnt pay and hope is an optional extra

we can now be investigated servoca police, after being profiled by servoca police intel, we are then subject to forensics by servoca forensics, before being judged in a servoca court house carted off to chokey in servoca black maria to serve time in servoca prison before being released into the “supervision” of servoca probation and servoca job bank

all hail servoca!! our new masters



Don’t forget Crapita


Lord Sugar of Amstrad

I am at a complete loss as to why the mandatory and socially acceptable term “punter” was not used..

You’re fired!


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