A kangaroo court is a term used to describe a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding that lacks fairness, impartiality, or due process. It refers to a court that operates outside the boundaries of established legal principles and often serves the interests of those in power rather than providing justice.
Lord Reed observed during the hearing that a judgment which results from an unfair trial is written in water.Serafin v Malkiewicz and others  UKSC 23
The term kangaroo court implies a mockery of justice, where the outcome of the trial or hearing is predetermined, and the rights of the accused are disregarded.
These types of courts are typically characterized by biased judges or decision-makers, a lack of proper legal representation, limited access to evidence or witnesses, and a general absence of procedural fairness.
The name kangaroo court originates from the concept of a kangaroo’s pouch, which symbolizes a place where things are hidden or secret. The term suggests that these courts are secretive and operate without transparency, potentially manipulating proceedings to achieve a desired outcome.
Kangaroo courts can be found in various settings, including authoritarian regimes, corrupt organisations, or even informal gatherings where individuals take it upon themselves to administer a form of justice without proper legal authority or expertise.
It’s important to note that a kangaroo court should not be confused with a legitimate court that may make controversial or unpopular decisions.
A true court of law, although subject to scrutiny, operates within established legal frameworks and respects the principles of fairness and due process.
Is the House of Commons Committee of Privileges a Kangaroo Court ?
Sue Gray published an interim report INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGED GATHERINGS ON GOVERNMENT PREMISES DURING COVID RESTRICTIONS – UPDATE on the 31st January 2022.
A Privilege Motion Parliamentary Debate on Partygate was held on the 21st April 2022.
This final Sue Gray Report FINDINGS OF SECOND PERMANENT SECRETARYS INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGED GATHERINGS ON GOVERNMENT PREMISES DURING COVID RESTRICTIONS was published on the 25th May 2022.
On the 15th June 2023 the House of Commons Committee of Privileges published the Final Report Matter referred on 21 April 2022 (conduct of Rt Hon Boris Johnson) in relation to the behaviour of the former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Partygate.
Boris Johnson has stated that he believed the House of Commons Committee of Privileges to be a “witch hunt” or “kangaroo” court.
At the end of the session, Sir Charles and Mr Costa asked me a series of questions regarding comments that have been made about the Committee’s work being a “witch hunt” or a “kangaroo court”. Having reviewed the transcript, I am concerned that, at the end of what had been a long hearing, I was not emphatic enough in the answers that I provided. As I hope I made clear in those answers, I have the utmost respect for the integrity of the Committee and all its Members and the work that it is doing.
Their purpose from the beginning has been to find me guilty, regardless of the facts. This is the very definition of a kangaroo court.Matter referred on 21 April 2022 (conduct of Rt Hon Boris Johnson): Final Report
The House of Commons Committee of Privileges report summary concluded :-
In light of Mr Johnson’s conduct in committing a further contempt on 9 June 2023, the Committee 7 Matter referred on 21 April 2022 (conduct of Rt Hon Boris Johnson): Final Report now considers that if Mr Johnson were still a Member he should be suspended from the service of the House for 90 days for repeated contempts and for seeking to undermine the parliamentary process, by:
a) Deliberately misleading the House
b) Deliberately misleading the Committee
c) Breaching confidence
d) Impugning the Committee and thereby undermining the democratic process of the House
e) Being complicit in the campaign of abuse and attempted intimidation of the Committee.
We recommend that he should not be entitled to a former Member’s pass.Matter referred on 21 April 2022 (conduct of Rt Hon Boris Johnson): Final Report
Boris Johnson was found by the Sue Gray report to have broken his own rules during the global Covid pandemic by holding and attending “parties”.
It is now many months since people started to warn me about the intentions of the Privileges Committee. They told me that it was a kangaroo court.
The police investigated my role at all of those events. In no case did they find that what I had done was unlawful.
Why would we have had an official photographer if we believed we were breaking the law?Boris Johnson’s Response to the Privileges Committee Report 15th June 2023
The Prime Minister sets the standard for all other Ministers of the Crown in how they account to the House of Commons.
Boris may well have been right when he said it was a witch hunt and kangaroo court, because there were people gunning for him over the proroguing of parliament and him removing the whip from 21 MPs that voted against the government before the 2019 general election.
There were scores being settled – but it is his own fault because of the way he constantly broke rules and lied. Then there is his honours list fiasco – knighting his Dad and all his other cronies. One rule for him and all his mates and another for everyone else.
The Rule of Law applies to everyone and especially public servants.
Open justice is a fundamental principle of the United Kingdom’s legal system which means that Justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.
Should Boris Johnson be prosecuted for Misconduct in Public Office in a proper court?
This offence carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and is considered to be one of the most serious offences that a public official can commit.
We recommend you should always seek formal legal advice if required, from a qualified and reputable lawyer (solicitor or barrister).
Read the reviews of Gavin Howe Barrister
- Senior President of TribunalsThe Senior President of Tribunals is the independent and statutory leader of the tribunal judiciary. The office of the Senior… Read more: Senior President of Tribunals
- Solicitor GeneralThe Solicitor General is the second law officer of the Crown in the United Kingdom, after the Attorney General. The… Read more: Solicitor General
- R v Sussex Justices“It is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but… Read more: R v Sussex Justices
- What is Section 35 ABCP Act 2014 ?Section 35 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 grants police officers the power to direct a person… Read more: What is Section 35 ABCP Act 2014 ?