Research: Nearly three quarters of Brits believe mainstream media ‘misreports’ the law

Avatar photo

By Aishah Hussain on

Over half think the Supreme Court tried to block Brexit and ‘defy the will of the people’

Nearly three quarters of the British public believe that the mainstream media “misreports” the law.

This was one of the key findings of new research conducted on behalf of The Secret Barrister to coincide with the release of the anonymous author’s second book, Fake Law.

The survey of 2,000 British adults last month uncovered that 73% believe that the mainstream media “misreports” and “misrepresents” English and Welsh law, with 85% saying that they would be “angry” and “frustrated” to learn that a media outlet had misrepresented it to the public. Over eight in ten (88%) also state that they wish they knew more about the law to understand their rights.

The research further revealed the areas of law considered to be the most “misreported” in the British press. These range from criminal and human rights law to legal aid and Brexit, and were debunked by criminal barrister SB.

Almost three quarters of Brits (72%) think that judges are giving increasingly soft sentences to criminals, as reported by the media. Yet, the average length of custodial sentences imposed by the criminal courts has been increasing year-on-year for more than a decade, according to the report.

Over half (58%) of Brits believe that the Supreme Court tried to block Brexit and “defy the will of the people” as expressed by parliament, and covered by the media reporting of the Miller cases. However, in both cases, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of parliamentary sovereignty with its judgments instead concluding that the government could not act in such a way as to frustrate or usurp our democratically elected parliament, the report adds.

Secure your place: The Legal Cheek Virtual Pupillage Fairs 2020

The same proportion (58%) of Brits also believe the “media misrepresentation” that England and Wales have an out of control compensation culture in which claimants can be awarded excessively large sums for minor incidents or ailments. The Secret Barrister states that there is no evidence to support that claim, and in order to succeed at court with a claim for personal injury, the injured person has to prove that the other party was at fault.

Commenting on the research, The Secret Barrister, who runs a blog of same name, said: “The law, and understanding of the law, should be a shared asset. We are all bound by it, and all rely on its proper and just functioning to underpin the fundaments of our daily lives.”

They continued:

“However, as is shown in this research, an alarming number of Brits seems to not understand the law properly, because of lies, spin and misreporting by politicians and elements of the media. Hopefully, with this research and by increasing public awareness we can challenge these myths and give the public the truth about their justice system.”

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek's careers events:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub

Related Stories

Legal Twitterati outrage over Home Office’s ‘activist lawyer’ tweet

The Secret Barrister changed their handle to 'The Secret Activist Lawyer (AKA Barrister)' in response

Aug 27 2020 10:38am
secret barrister

The Secret Barrister reveals pain at not being able to publicly celebrate success

Anonymous author wishes they could lap up glory in person

Jun 3 2019 3:54pm
secret barrister

The Secret Barrister secures second book deal

Anonymous blogging heavyweight tells Legal Cheek they won't be quitting the bar anytime soon

Oct 25 2018 11:06am