Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Kangaroo Court Definition:

A judicial proceeding or trial which has a predetermined outcome or where the basic legal rights of a party are jumped over.

Related Terms: Trial

A judicial proceeding or trial which has a predetermined outcome or where the basic legal rights of a party are jumped over.

In R v O'Dea, the Australian court used these words:

"To describe the inquiry as a kangaroo court was to pour scorn upon the inquiry....

"(A) kangaroo court ... an un-authorised or irregular court conducted with disregard for or perversion of legal procedure.

"To describe either a court or an inquiry pursuant to a commission as a kangaroo court is to be contemptuous of it."

kangaroo

In Nebraska State Bar Association, the Supreme Court of Nebraska used these words in regards to kangaroo court:

"An irresponsible, unauthorized, or irregular tribunal, or one in which, although conducted under some authorization, the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted."

In that case, the description of a judicial body as a kangaroo court was held to constitute contempt of court.

In Lamb v Clark, the Court of Appeals of Kentucky had occasion to describe an ad hoc trial of new prisoners to jails in Graves County as kangaroo court; with the pre-determined and inevitably result of the whipping and beating of new prisoners as a form of prison initiation.

In Clark v Chief Constable of Essex Police, the British High Court of Justice appeared to accept the description of kangaroo court in the context of a disciplinary proceeding:

"... because those attending jumped from the accusation to the condemnation without pausing to find out what the accused person had to say about it."

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