The Secret Barrister’s second book Fake Law has as its subtitle “The Truth About Justice in an Age of Lies“. Publication was held over from the spring, and the book arrives at a time of public dishonesty such as we have never seen before. There is a tenuous connection with eDiscovery (the primary subject of this blog) in that the tricks and tools of public dishonesty include those which are familiar (or should be) to anyone engaged in civil or criminal discovery.
This is not a review of the book because I must wait like everyone else for publication on 3 September when it will be available from e.g. Daunt Books for £20 or for slightly less from Amazon. I depend to some extent on the Secret Barrister’s article in The Guardian last week called Against the law: why judges are under attack, but my point is not so much to preview the book as to talk slightly discursively about the age of lies.
Along the way, we might ask why people lie, cheat and deceive. Motive and opportunity are factors to be considered when looking at criminal behaviour and in anticipating security risks, as well as in public dishonesty. For Boris Johnson, lying seems to be a personal characteristic almost divorced from anything he might achieve by it. Smaller fish like Health Minister Matt Hancock tell lies partly to alter the record in anticipation of the inevitable public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic, but also because lying seems to be a qualification for serving in Boris Johnson’s government. Wearing my eDiscovery hat, I am looking forward to that inquiry.
But why do they keep going? Johnson has an 80 seat majority and has got the Brexit he lied so assiduously to get. Adding to the lie pile now just emphasises the fact that he only reached his position by dishonest means, and reinforces the perception that everything he says is untrue. Continue reading