News

Lawyers poke fun at Judge Rinder’s new show over dresscode faux pas

By on
13

Crown Court returns after 30-year hiatus

Image credit: ITV

An iconic courtroom drama is returning to television screens this week with 2 Hare Court criminal barrister-turned TV judge Robert Rinder presiding over the cases — which are set to be argued by rather unusually dressed barristers.

Crown Court, a daytime show that aired on ITV in the late seventies and eighties, clocked up over 800 episodes and followed cases as they unfolded in the courtroom of the fictional town of ‘Fulchester’. Typically a trial would span three 25 minute episodes, with the prosecution case being presented in the first two and the defence in the third. Although those involved in the case were actors (British talent included Colin Firth, Peter Capaldi and Bob Hoskins), the jury was made up of members of the general public.

Now ITV has confirmed the show will return in a brand new primetime slot at 8pm this Friday, but unlike the original version, the jury will be viewers themselves.

Unfortunately lawyers are already picking holes in Rinder’s latest offering. James Turner QC, a barrister a London’s 1 King’s Bench Walk, tweeted a section of the Radio Times’ coverage of the show, asking his followers: “Can anyone spot what’s wrong with this picture?”

Answer? Well, if the chap far right is indeed playing the role of a barrister, he should not be wearing a tie in court. It was a fashion faux pas that a number of Turner’s followers were quick to flag up:

Barristers should, depending on the court they’re appearing in, wear court bands or a collarette (female equivalent). The promotional shot also appears to show the barrister without a gown and sporting a day collar, again strict no-nos in court.

Dresscode technicalities to one side, Turner’s question did prompt a raft of amusing responses:

The first episode of Rinder’s Crown Court remake will examine the case of a man accused of murdering his wife. Inspired by a real-life arsenic poisoning, viewers will hear evidence from both prosecution and defence witnesses before having to reach a decision: guilty or not guilty. In an additional twist, Rinder — who still presents his popular daytime court-based show — will then reveal the verdict reached by the original jury in the case that inspired the storyline.

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek's careers events:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub

13 Comments

Anonymous

“Barristers should, depending on the court they’re appearing in, wear court bands or a collarette.”

So LC runs a story mocking people who don’t know the rules, while making it clear that LC doesn’t know the rules.

Whether you wear court bands or a collarette does not depend on the court you’re appearing in. It depends on your gender.

Depending on the court they’re appearing in, barristers are either robed (i.e. including wigs, gowns, and bands or collarette as appropriate) or unrobed (i.e. ordinary business attire).

Anonymous

LC has amended the original article since this comment was posted to insert the words “(female equivalent).” Any other journalist indicates where an article has been amended since publication, to avoid being misleading. LC routinely amends without doing so and is relaxed about misleading people.

Anonymous

My suggestion for reformed Court dress would be just to wear the collar and bands, and ditch the horsehair and batman cape.

Anonymous

Don’t knock it. We don’t have enough accurate UK courtroom drama on the television. (And I use ‘UK’ deliberately.) Mostly we see only US courts portrayed (or shown, if the cameras are allowed in) in prime time, and the US dramas are .

Of our own courts we get only coverage of the Supreme Court and the occasional CoA hearing (in both, plenty of intellect, but untypical and no drama), and piss poor representation of fictional court scenes as in Silk and the even more laughable Judge John Deed.

Rinder’s usual programme is better thought of as Carry On Up The Small Claims Track.

True, I am assuming that the new Crown Court will be accurate – but I’ll settle for broadly accurate, as the old programme was.

Anonymous

The word missing after “US dramas are…” is “bollocks”.

Anonymous

I think this has the potential to be useful, providing it is not overly dramatic. Not enough people understand the role of the courts, beyond the sensationalist journalism that typically depicts what has gone on.

Anonymous

After suggesting we should be thankful for broadly accurate legal drama, I’ve come back to say that I watched Crown Court last Friday.

It is awful. Truly execrable. It manages the difficult feat of failing utterly as entertainment while being hopeless as a representation of criminal process.

I resent the fact that I won’t get that time back.

Rinder looked as though he wanted to be anywhere but in that stinking turd of a show.

Anonymous

This sort of inconsequential pedantry is why lawyers (especially barristers) can sometimes be seen as real bores

Frustrated Writer

The Connelly family was well known for the quality of the garments they made. For generations, the shop sat proudly on the high street in the small village of Kilroch, welcoming crofters and farmers who had come for miles to get their Sunday best made, then repaired.

Malcolm Connelly had taken on the business from his father when he passed, as his father had taken it from Malcom’s grandfather. Malcolm had been pleased then when his wife, Morag, had given him a son. He had a heir who could take on the family tailor business. The name Connelly & Son would live on as a byword of quality in the Stirlingshire countryside.

Malcolm had let little Tom play in his workshop as a boy, the customers often throwing him a coin and ruffling his hair if he ventured into the shop. Malcolm was a proud man. He knew one day Tom would take on this business and so he took care to pass on the lessons his forefathers had passed down the generations, often quizzing his son over breakfast before he set off for school on the key elements of good tailoring and their business.

It was a Sunday afternoon shortly after Tom’s 17th birthday when Malcolm had been quietly working in his workshop behind the store. Morag, his wife, would have had kittens seeing him working on the Sabbath, but the local Laird had insisted that his butler and footmen have new outfits for a visit of a distant cousin from England, and he had to oblige.

“Dad, can I have a word?” Tom had asked, nervously. Malcolm set down the heavy shears he was holding and invited his son to sit on an old stool. It was rare for his boy to be so sombre, he couldn’t help but worry.

Tom’s young face was a picture of worry. He bit his lip nervously, and looked at the dusty, wooden floor as he spoke. “Dad, you know I love living here, and this shop”. He adjusted his position on the stool, moving his feet around aimlessly. “But I need to get out of here. Just for a while. I want to try my luck at being a lawyer”.

Malcolm was a little taken aback. This was the first time that he had heard his son take any interest in anything other than playing rugby for the Messenger’s Inn Second XV, listening the Spice Girl’s first single, or the milkman’s daughter, who accompanied him on his round every so often. Career wise, Malcolm had just assumed Tom would take over the business.

“What’s brought this on son?” Malcolm finally asked, his concern overpowering his own thoughts over succession.

Tom looked back at his dad, guiltily. “Nothing really Dad. I just enjoy the law. I can’t get enough of LA Law, Rumpole of the Bailey, Kavanagh QC, even Ally McBeal”. Tom looked away again. “I will do it for a few years, but I’ll come back to run the shop, I promise”.

Malcolm loved his son. He couldn’t let him miss out on his dream. He approached him and put a fatherly arm on Tom’s shoulders. “Don’t you be silly now laddie. I understand. You go do this, be a lawyer. You’ll be a star, you mark my words. Better than running this shop, working your hands to the bone like your father”.

Tom looked up at his dad, a smile breaking across his face, the weight seemingly having dropped from his shoulders. “Thanks Dad.”

Malcolm grinned back. “Now, before you go off to the big smoke, promise me this. You won’t forget the tailor’s essentials”. He stood in front of Tom. “Now, laddie, what do we sell?”.

Tom rolled his eyes in mock frustration. He had been subject to this test for so long these words were ingrained into his memory forever. “Tops Dad”. He parroted.

“And what options do we give the customers?” Malcolm responded, jauntily.

Tom pretended not to remember. “Erm, not sure Dad. It’s been ten minutes since you last asked!”.

Malcom smiled. “Come on Thomas, you can do better than that!”

“OK, Dad. We also sell pockets and trousers to go with the tops”.

“Good boy”. Malcolm said, giving his son a hearty handshake. “Never forget, OK? Tops.”

Tom nodded. He could never forget that. He knew he would use that word often. He would also do his Dad proud in any way he could, particularly where clothing was involved.

Frustrated Reader

TL;DR

Anonymous

What a great backstory. Really starting to appreciate and relate to Tom’s character more and more. But seriously, what kind of name is Morag? This isn’t lord of the rings

Anonymous

It’s a Scottish name…

Anonymous

Thanks for the link to Crown Court!

Join the conversation

Related Stories