Those who have an interest in the lighter side of the law will be delighted that they now have access (from April 7, 2011) to the cheaper, Penguin reprint of “Defending the Guilty” subtitled “Truth and Lies in the Criminal Courtroom” by Alex McBride, for under £10.

The author, a criminal barrister, and by that we mean an advocate who practises in the criminal courts, not a practitioner who is a criminal, draws upon his experiences at the Bar to present us with a wonderfully quirky and entertaining account of what life might be like for those experiencing the criminal branch of the legal profession.

The hardback version of the book was well received, by, among others, the well respected late Lord Bingham of Cornhill who described it as “An excellent blend of anecdote and more serious discussion”. And the Times Literary Supplement, Books of the Year, said it was: “Expert, authoritative, hilarious – an insider’s fearless account of life at the criminal Bar”.

His expertise instructs us painlessly in the history of criminal law; his authority gives us some insight into the growth of the jury system, the hilarity comprises the secrets of the pupils’ room in chambers and the fearlessness describes the antics of the more exclusive, expensive commercial end of the Bar.

Not just students should read this; we all might learn something from it.

Iain Sutherland Editor, Times Law Report

(Making a guest appearance on the ICLR blog)