Friday, April 22, 2016

New Review! Order in Court by David Osborne, 4.5 Cranky Stars


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 get on his feet and impress the 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. Chambers politics, strange clients, solicitors who come and go on a whim, and even stranger and eccentric judges, all have their part to play in Toby's climb up the greasy pole. Moments of courtroom drama, and many more moments of high fiasco, mark Toby's initiation into the heady world of the Criminal Bar. So much to learn, so little time. Will Toby succeed where so many have failed? He has the determination, he has the self-belief, but does he have what it takes to reach the pinnacle of the profession? Only time will tell. One thing is certain - never a dull moment! Why be ordinary, Toby was once told, if you have it in you to be extraordinary?




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.

Highly recommended.

With thanks to Lilac Reviews for the opportunity.


David Osborne is a successful English barrister, author, public performer and public speaker. Some years ago, he hit the headlines nationwide and made legal history when he delivered his final speech to the jury entirely in verse. For this tour de force performance he was dubbed 'The Barrister Bard' by the popular press.
He followed this with the publication of a short humorous book on the law entitled No Holds Barred and written under the pseudonym of Ivor Bigg-Wigg QC. 
He appears regularly on radio and television as a legal commentator, and has written a number of articles for the national and regional press, as well as various journals. His blog can be found on this webpage and on his website, www.
In the recent past, David has also written and presented two legal revues, both times to full houses. See his website for an excerpt of one of his live performances.
He is regularly in demand as a keynote and after-dinner speaker, and has written a short book on the Art of Public Speaking, available on Amazon.
David is married with four children and lives in Somerset.


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