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Nicked Journal #1
Magazine of the Month

Nicked Journal #1

April’s Magazine of the Month is a new launch that confidently identifies a fresh indie genre while flying in the face of most advice we would offer a wannabe publisher.

Nicked Journal arrived unannounced in our postbag a couple of weeks back. Published from Somerset, UK by brothers Seth and Daniel Cox, it seeks to make the law interesting. I think we all know the law can be interesting—court trials have made great movies—but Seth and Daniel are dealing with the more mundane every day interactions of Britain’s magistrate courts.

At one level, the brothers are ideally placed to produce the magazine: Seth is completing his studies to become a lawyer, and Daniel is a graphic designer. The idea for Nicked Journal came to them as Daniel graduated last year, since when they’ve been preparing issue one.



Their main preparation has been visiting local courts and observing proceedings. Taking their places regularly in the public galleries, as the only public observers at relatively low-level cases, they were surprised to be questioned about their attendance—it appears we British only pay attention when we are the subjects of a court case. Who were these two young men sitting, writing notes? That repeated question rather makes the case for a magazine that opens up the legal world.

But on another level, the pair were completely ill-placed to publish. With no experience of magazine-making, they simply dived in and produced this first issue.  Without a printer at home, they never saw the pages on paper until the final, bound magazines were delivered, having been produced by Pureprint (a name picked out of music mag Marvin.)

All of which flies in the face of any advice we would offer a new publisher, and yet the finished magazine is anything but a disaster. Nicked Journal is a visually intriguing, colourful (it shares a colour palette with risograph printing) and highly illustrated publication that sets it well apart from a legal document or newsapaper report. It is immediately appealing, its mix of clip art and found imagery lightening the pages of text and establishing its own identity.



There’s a particular Britishness to these visuals, as this illustration on the opening page, alongside the editor’s letter, demonstrates.

I also like the bold double-page visual interventions that break up the pace of the issue.


A few pages later, the opening story sets the verbal tone. The brothers attend a trial in Salisbury and immediately encounter problems, ‘My brother and I drove out to Salisbury Crown Court, that was our first mistake. No parking available at the court, except for staff. Very welcoming…’ They go on to describe the public gallery (‘the cramped little corner near the door with 12 chairs almost stacked on top of each other’) before an appeal for readers to turn up at courts across the land and demand open access to public galleries.

Such contextualisation humanises the wordier legal descriptions later in the essay. The magazine maintains a healthy balance between the experience of being at court and the legal facts of cases.

Among the court reports, there are other stories: ‘The Law is an Ass’ shares legal idiocy from the ages, there’s a piece of fiction, and an indepth analysis of what courtroom architecture tells us about the law.


It’s not perfect—what first issue is?—but law is a fascinating area to apply a fresh eye to, and Seth and Daniel have a clear sense of the editorial personality they want to apply to a subject often seen as distant and dry. The result is a very exciting debut.

Nicked Journal serves two parallel roles. The magazine as a whole opens up the British legal system in a way I’ve not seen before; and at a more granular level it occupies the vacuum left by the end of local newspaper court reports. Those public galleries would once have been occupied by a local reporter learning their trade. But perhaps most importantly, the magazine makes its subject fun.

Anything that gets back onto those benches and reveals our legal world and its daily workings at this basic level deserves praise, but to do so with such editorial verve earns Nicked Journal its place as April’s Magazine of the Month.


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Nicked Journal #1

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