A kangaroo court is a mock court or a trial procedure wherein the justice is denied, and the trial has no legal base.
According to different dictionaries, a kangaroo court is defined as:
- A mock trial or
- An irregular court
- An unauthorized, bogus court
These courts are legal proceedings or trials which are set-up to give a false impression of a fair and legal process. These trials or assemblies patently ignore the documented set of laws and justice. They are often defined as mock courts which have no regards for the principals of justice or law. Also, such courts have little or no official position in their residing region.
Kangaroo courts are legal shams, often held in groups or a community to give the sense of a just trial. However, in reality, the verdict has been decided long before the trial. They offer impartial justice, and continuously overlook the basic legal rights of a defendant. Such courts typically take place in rural areas where legitimate law enforcement may be limited. Also, they are associated with groups who are in a dire need to dispense a rough and ready form of justice, but are temporarily outside the limits of official judicial processes, for example, inmates in jail, soldiers at war, settlers of lands where no jurisdiction has yet been established.
Although, one might say that the phrase ‘Kangaroo Court’ originates from Australia as it is the only place which consists of actual kangaroos, such is not the case! The concept of kangaroo court dates to the early nineteenth century; its origin traces back to the illegal practices of the judges on the U.S. frontier, wherein these roving judges would be paid on how many trials they conducted, and their salary depended on the fines collected from the convicted defendants. The hopping image of theses judges from one place to another conjured up the term ‘Kangaroo Court’.