Multi-million pound fraud specialist plucked to hear cases of lawn mower failure and duff holidays
Brace yourself, daytime telly addicts — the UK is about to get its home grown version of Judge Judy, the iconic figure of the American bench for the last 18 years.
ITV has plucked criminal law barrister Robert Rinder from the Temple’s 2 Hare Court to front a British law-made-easy for ordinary punters programme. So our television screens will shortly be filled with riveting stories of lawn mowers that don’t cut grass and holidays that didn’t quite live up to their brochure pictures.
Judge Judy — aka Judith Sheindlin, the tough talking Brooklyn-born lawyer — first graced screens in 1996, having done a prior stint in the lead slot on Manhattan’s top family court bench.
Rinder — who was called in 2001 — will be hoping that he has just a fraction of the success for ITV as Sheindlin has garnered with US broadcaster CBS. She is reported to be on a massive deal worth $45 million (£26 million) a year. Let’s face it — even a tiny slice of that kind of action will put the average earnings of the criminal bar in the shade.
Indeed, the success of the US programme probably explains the slightly American feel of the Judge Rinder trailer. Our bench hero is seen in a simple Judge Judy-style black gown, with not a hair of Georgian wig in sight.
Rinder also wields with some ferocity a gavel, banging it forcefully on the bench to warn pedants off pointing out that they ain’t used in British courtrooms.
In an ITV promotional video, Rinder gushes over the common man touch the programme will bring. Law, he says, is simply about “human stories”, before enlightening us with the wise words that “at the core, cases are about who is telling the truth”. Once again, the razor-sharp minds of the bar are on display.
Rinder also hints at an educational purpose to his programme, suggesting the poor British are disadvantaged because “we can’t watch the system in this country” owing to a lack of television cameras in courts.
The fact that the public can still walk into just about any court in the land with their packed lunch and while-away as much time as they fancy watching the system at work seems to have eluded the programme-makers.
ITV has not yet provided a broadcast date for Judge Rinder, but the programme will be produced in Manchester. Rinder — himself a politics and history graduate from Manchester University — hopes that local Mancunians will apply to bring their cases before him.
Get ready for allegations that United has failed in its duty of care to fans for failing to qualify for Europe, etc.
When he’s not loafing around the green room, Rinder’s legal practice focuses on international fraud, money laundering, and other forms of financial crime, which is a million miles away from the type of complaint one expects ITV executives will have in mind for successful telly.
Rinder is also a fitness freak, with a particular penchant for marathons, having nailed the London and New York as well as the Swiss Alpine versions. At least he should be able to outrun any aggrieved litigants.
The full advert can be found here.