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Lawyers vent fury over survey which asked whether The Secret Barrister should be ‘unmasked’

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Little appetite to find out identity of whistleblower

Secret Barrister

A survey conducted in association with the Bar Council has been subject to intense criticism on Twitter overnight after it asked lawyers whether anonymous blogging heavyweight The Secret Barrister (SB) should be “unmasked”.

As part of a short survey included in the latest edition of Bar Talk, a fortnightly newsletter produced and circulated by the Bar Council, media partner The Times asked whether it was fair for SB to operate from behind a “cloak of anonymity” given his (or her) “harsh criticisms of the criminal justice system”. The survey continued:

The interest in the identity of the secretive member of the bar hasn’t gone down well with lawyers on Twitter. CrimeGirl, who like SB is a barrister and tweets under an alias, described the question as a “nasty veiled threat”. 11KBW‘s Sean Jones QC queried whether the Bar Council “should be promoting” such as a question, while John de Waal QC, a tenant at Hardwicke said “we should be supporting him/her [SB] not undermining.”

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The Twitter backlash continued:

Responding to the survey, SB said they were “surprised” by the focus on whether or not to unmask a whistleblower, particularly “at a time when the justice system is at crisis point”.

A Bar Council spokesperson told Legal Cheek: “The Bar Council does not support the idea of unmasking The Secret Barrister. The Times Law survey question relating to The Secret Barrister’s anonymity is not a demand to unmask The Secret Barrister. The survey is an opportunity for the bar to send a clear message to those who are seeking to lift the legal blogger’s anonymity and help strengthen The Secret Barrister’s purpose of highlighting the many flaws in the justice system caused by a lack of investment. They added:

“The bar, we hope, will vote no. Equally, we hope those completing the survey will also share their views in response to the other questions asked about the current state of the justice system, which are of paramount importance.”

This isn’t the first time SB’s identity has made headlines. Earlier this year, the now successful author was interviewed by Financial Times for its popular Lunch with the FT series in a piece that revealed SB was “somewhere between 30 and 40”, had attended a comprehensive school and was a non-Oxbridge law grad.

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39 Comments

Anonymous

I am the secret barrister

(12)(0)

Anonymous

No, I’m the secret barrister!

(6)(0)

Anonymous

I am though.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Nah. It’s me.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

It’s me, douchebag

Jonathan Sumption

non, c’est moi

Anonymous

Ich bin!

Anonymous

Is mise é!

Anonymous

No I am Spartacus

(5)(0)

Groot

I am Groot

(13)(1)

The Walrus

I am the walrus!

Kookoo katchoo!

(0)(0)

The Egg Man

I am the egg man.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I’m Brian and so’s my wife

(14)(0)

Anonymous

No.

(1)(0)

SM of WS

Must try harder.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Recycling what’s in the Gazette and RoF isn’t as easy as it looks you know.

(2)(0)

Another JD Partner

My trainee didn’t even go to uni. Why waste those precious virile years trying to learn?

(4)(1)

Anonymous

Haha!!!!

Fool!!!!

Virile refers to young men!!!!!

(1)(1)

Anonymous

From the Latin, “Vir” meaning “man”, duh!

(3)(0)

Gavin from xxl

What makes you think this charming young trainee isn’t a man?

(3)(1)

An Barrister

I know someone who has met the Secret Barrister and knows their true identity.

It is in all our interests that the age and gender of said barrister remain secret.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

I believe in God

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Lard Hurley of Counsel’s ears will be reddening at all this talk…

(2)(0)

GROOOOOOT

I AM GROOOOOOOT!

(2)(0)

Anonymous

I know who it is!

The name of the Secret Barrister is…

This comment has been moderated as it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(10)(0)

Anonymous

It’s Alan Blacker!

(4)(0)

Liv

Unpopular opinion: the Secret Barrister is actually quite irritating.

She’s done a good job raising awareness of the state of the Criminal Justice System among the media and public, but her blogging is 6/10 at best.

Her explainers on the law are often inaccurate, and the whiff of pomposity is never far away. Politically, she’s Standard Modern Left – never veering far from the prevailing orthodoxy, but never saying anything remotely controversial or interesting. Pepper everything with “Daily Mail” this and “Tories” that and the twitter retweets will flow.

She spends half her time boringly bashing the mentally ill (Hopkins, Farage, Robinson) and works herself up into a right froth about utter trivialities. She’s a bit self-obsessed – endlessly retweeting praise – and isn’t a very good prose stylist, although her prissy periphrastic snark of course finds favour with other twitter berks.

You get a clear sense of what an ineffective pain-in-the-arse she must be in court.

(18)(11)

Travelling Gavel

Aside from the fact that SB mentions trying to cultivate a moustache? Not sure that many females do that?

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Early misdirection. She’s since said several things that make it plain she’s female. Something along the lines of “I could have his children” at one point.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Er…any particular reason you left out the QIA+? Why do you hate people questioning their sexuality so much? Do keep up.

(0)(1)

Harry

Glad I’m not the only one to think this. See also Sean Jones. They make everyone in the profession seem cringeworthy, don’t they?

(3)(0)

Travelling Gavel

Aside from the fact that SB mentions trying to cultivate a moustache? Not sure that many females do that?

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/thesecretbarrister.com/2015/09/09/sexism-welcome-to-the-bar-love/amp/

(0)(0)

Trumpenkrieg

Some women have penises, some men have vaginas. Get over it, bigot.

(6)(1)

Anonymous

I actual have two of each. Not physically, but that is not the point.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I for one, am female, and get quite an impressive top lip carpet unless I keep it under control.

(2)(0)

Ciaran Goggins

The SB supports Jean Hatchet, unmasking is inevitable.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

The SB wants to be unmasked. Seriously, there’s enough in her tweets and book and that FT article to find out who she is.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

The Times has form in this area with the hacking and unmasking of the Nightjack police blogger

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/aug/15/patrick-foster-times-journalist-trial-hacking-allegations-emails-nightjack-blogger

(0)(0)

Jo Average

I agree that the SB is most probably a female.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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