About the book by Author David Osborne, Illustrated by David Langdon
Toby Potts, fresh from bar school and clutching his graduation diploma, is a young, aspiring barrister, full of hopes and dreams and intent on becoming the leading criminal advocate of his time. He can hardly wait to impress a jury with his incisive cross-examination, his mastery of all things legal, and his spellbinding final speeches. Sadly, reality kicks in, and Toby finds the path to fame and fortune far from smooth and uneventful. His “trials” and tribulations take Toby from his calling to join the bar to his first brief when he represents the wrong client, through to his great tour de force at the Old Bailey, when he goes head to head with the Honourable Mr. Justice Boniface, known in the legal profession as Old Sourpuss. Chambers politics, solicitors who come and go on a whim, strange clients, and even stranger and eccentric judges all play their part in Toby’s climb up the greasy pole of justice. Moments of courtroom drama and more moments of high fiasco mark Toby’s initiation into the heady world of the criminal bar. So much to learn, so little time. An English barrister with over 40 years’ experience in private practice, David Osborne first practised law in London, and now practises from his chambers in Somerset. This is his second book in the Toby Potts series. The first is entitled May it Please your Lordship.
Reviewed by Guest Reviewer, the Twisted Book Carmudgeon
Many years ago, in another life, I worked in London for Barristers and Solicitors. An educational filler, taken because my parents insisted I learn a trade, equipped me with the now rare skill of shorthand. This is the reason why I found myself mainly temping for a bit of extra cash with the legal fraternity.
Order in Court took me right back to those days, reminding me of the wit, the banter, the absurdity of some legal cases, and how seemingly normal people can behave incredibly badly when the pressure comes on.
If, like me, you enjoy human train wrecks – this is the book for you. I cannot remember laughing so hard in a long time. My personal favourite: Jack Dawson and his encounter with Bill Syke’s dog, Bullseye, where the aforementioned Dawson ended up in the latrine. I laughed so loud, I woke my husband and since he was awake, I read him the passage. He laughed too.
Told with a dry wit, understated and self-deprecating humour, Osborne provides an acute observation on human nature through anecdotes of court cases. I read this book over the course of a few days – as a series of journal articles – where each case was more excruciating than the next.
Buried amongst the humour and wit, however, are some keen insights into the legal world and class system. Hierarchical, competitive, unspoken boundaries between race and class, and often, how the quality of justice is dependent on the price one can afford for a defence.
Order in Court is the book I didn’t know I needed to read until I opened the first page.
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With thanks to Lilac Reviews for the opportunity. Twisted Book Carmudgeon’s Facebook Page