PanMacmillan signs The Law And How It's Broken: Stories of Crime and Punishment, by anonymous blogger The Secret Barrister
Jamie Coleman at Pan Macmillan bought UK Commonwealth rights from Chris Wellbelove at Greene & Heaton after an auction involving five publishers, and will publish in 2018.
The Secret Barrister blog is written by a practicing barrister and was awarded The Comment Awards Independent Blogger of the Year Award 2016.
According to PanMac's acquisition statement: 'Every year in England and Wales, the Crown Prosecution Service brings hundreds of thousands of prosecutions, with cases both simple and frighteningly complex, stretching across the spectrum of human cruelty. These are the stories of one barrister’s experience at the Criminal Bar, the cases prosecuted and the cases defended, to answer the questions we all have about both the system and the moral dilemmas of the law. It is a book that seeks not only to shine a light on some of the best and worst of humanity but also to force us to think clearly about a system which would never be off the front pages if the public knew what it was really like.'
Coleman said: "Whether it’s the ongoing fallout from Brexit and Article 50, or conversations around the latest super-injunction, it feels as if not a day goes by that some new area of general ignorance around the justice system is exposed. This book will be a passionate defence of the law, a clear-eyed analysis of how and why it’s broken, and an explanation of why we urgently need to start caring."
The Secret Barrister said: "Our criminal justice system is close to breaking point. Every day, delays, errors and chronic under-resourcing are leading to provably guilty people walking free, victims being callously disregarded and innocent people losing their freedom. If the criminal justice system were the NHS, it would never be off the front pages.
"A justice system that could be – should be – treasured by the public it serves is lain to waste by governments seeking an easy cut, ignored by those fortunate enough to evade its reach, and suffered by the few – defendants, victims and witnesses – for whom the vagaries of fate lead to the courtroom door. And perhaps the greatest tragedy is how little the public knows about this, and the consequent lack of accountability when things go wrong.
"I wanted to write a book to show the public what really goes on behind the courtroom door. By writing about these problems from an insider's perspective, I hope to demonstrate to a non-legal audience why criminal justice is so important, and to illustrate what happens when we allow those in charge to chip away at our most basic freedoms.
"Anyone can be a victim of crime, and anyone can be wrongly accused of a crime. And you will want the system to work properly if that person is you. I am proud and delighted to be working with Macmillan, whose passion and vision for the project has been clear since the first day."