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Series / Judge Rinder

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“The problem is, there’s a lovely phrase, which, let me tell you, in Darlington they think of nothing else, it’s called Caveat Emptor.”

You've heard of Judge Judy... now meet her British equivalent, Judge Rinder.

Launching on ITV on 11 August 2014 and airing every weekday at 2 pm, Judge Rinder is basically a televised version of an English small claims court. Robert Rinder (himself a very experienced defence barrister; he's never actually been a judge, something he freely admitsnote ) presides over the sort of cases that Judith Sheindlin does; dodgy cars, dodgy wedding photos and other consumer stuff like that. Rinder himself combines high snarkiness with high camp.

Each episode is an hour long and features two or three cases.

The program got off to a flying start - peaking at a million viewers on its first day and getting 1.1 million viewers on its second day, twice that of ITV's breakfast show Good Morning Britain.

Contains examples of the following:

  • Alliterative Name: Judge Robert Rinder.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: While there are plenty of moments when Rinder's attitude reaches Judge Judy levels of abrasiveness, there are also plenty of light-hearted moments when his attitude is more like Anne Robinson's (from The Weakest Link) snarkiness, and the claimant or defendant being snarked at is laughing along with everyone else.
    • One case during a kids court special involved a dispute over property damage between two brothers. Rinder had asked the plaintiff to outline the facts at hand, with the plaintiff first stating that the defendant had left "pee" on his electric drum set, then (when asked to clarify) "urine". Rinder then grills the defendant a bit and when he asks the plaintiff to clarify what the official language he used was (meaning the use of the word "urine"), the plaintiff takes the question literally and answers with "Scottish," causing everyone in the room to burst out laughing and Rinder to turn away for a moment to compose himself. See here
  • Berserk Button: Cracking jokes when the judge makes it perfectly clear only he's allowed to do that.
    • Generally, any sort of behaviour that wouldn't fly in an actual court room will earn Rinder's ire, but he'll warn the party first.
    • Likewise, if someone shows absolutely zero remorse or shame for their actions, Rinder will not be happy.
  • Camp Gay: Rinder is both openly gay and very camp.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Not the actual court cases themselves but the interviews after the rulings tend to get... heated.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Every time a dog is in the courtroom, it will inevitably end up in Rinder's lap. And it isn't just dogs he cuddles; at one point he found himself wearing over a hundred pounds of friendly boa constrictor, and at another instantly proclaimed a wee misbehaving pony "Not guilty!" just at the sight of its cuteness.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rinder can be very snarky. He will drop the snark if the issue being discussed is quite serious or if he wants to make a point, but otherwise both sides do get it equally.
  • Establishing Character Moment: During the very first case, he berates one claimant for talking within court and then explains that he could've immediately thrown her claim out for contempt of court. Also, this memorable quote.
    Judge Rinder: I can smell a lie like a fart in a lift.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: Much rarer than other court shows of this nature, but does still happen occasionally. One notable instance involved a woman suing a cafe owner for closing when she normally wouldn't (on the grounds that she couldn't enjoy the community facilities). It came out during the case that the cafe owner had closed down temporarily due to a hamster damaging her car and she was trying to resolve that at the time. Rinder dismissed the case, pointing out that the cafe owner had every right to do so since the cafe was not a "community facility."
  • Get Out!: Has thrown people out of his court for their antics, including one defendant who performed a firework prank, shooting a firework out of his butt, despite nearly killing a friend of his in another incident. The ITV Judge Rinder YouTube channel made a compilation of them.
    Judge Rinder: I'm sorry, I can't take any more of you I'm afraid. I think you're an absolute moron. I'm prepared for Tony to stay here, but get out. Out! (as the defendant is walking out of court) GROW UP!
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": So many times there's a video compilation.
  • Manly Tears: Rinder has cried on a few occasions, when testimony gets particularly emotional.
  • Never Lend to a Friend: most cases are due to people lending money to their friends and the consequences of the debt on their friendship.
  • Nice Guy: Rinder will attempt to help solve the personal problems stemming from court cases wherever he can. He's also very empathetic to people who genuinely have been or are going through a truly difficult time, perhaps best exemplified here.
  • Number Two: Rinder is always served by a clerk, usually Michelle, who helps gather information relating to each case as well as passing documents between Rinder and the claimants.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Employed by Rinder when it came to an alcohol abuser and was also employed with another defendant combined with a moment of Get Out!:
    Rinder: You're going to have to form a relationship with this independent third party that's going to take trust, effort, commitment and it's going to take you staying! Off! The! DRINK! Understood?! (Alcohol abuse case)
    Defendant: Well, you're just sitting there and everything, and you're trying to get into my private life. You don't know anything about my private life.
    Rinder: Goodbye Wayne, get out. Get out. (louder) GET! OUT!
  • The Quiet One: Michelle hardly speaks during the hearings, and has only had a single full on-screen discussion with Rinder about bringing in a defendant who left during the hearing in a huff.
  • Rage Breaking Point: There are several cases where Rinder is doing his usual, and slowly but surely, becoming more and more irate with one of the party's behavior until said party finally goes over the line, at which point Rinder explodes with rage. It's even a subject of compilations. The most notable cases involve...
    • A deadbeat Abusive Dad who has sired at least 40 kids out of wedlock, insists on siring as many as he can before he dies and despite refusing to support either the children or their mothers in any way, thinks he's entitled to "discipline," ie abuse the living heck out them, for their entire lives. Plus he was openly cursing at his one son, who was suing him for lack of financial support, the whole way through the case. Judge Rinder was very troubled about the whole case, as he felt extreme sympathy for the son, and applauded his talents, but technically could find no legal basis for his case.
    • A woman who exploited her dyslexic romantic partner's trust and the access he gave her to his bank account to pay his bills openly fleecing him for thousands of pounds being such an entitled twit that she calls all the money she misappropriated "a gift" and still doesn't see why Rinder is furious about it, at the post-trial interview where she happily admits if she gets access to his accounts again, she will do it all again without a shred of conscience. Once she'd been thrown out of court, Rinder apologised to the man, awarded him what he could (noting that he couldn't grant the entire sum he was after due to the facts at hand) and read out a statement from the man's daughter which outlined just how far it had gone. The man was also strongly, strongly encouraged to meet with his daughter to change his passwords, with Rinder getting the man to pretty much make an undertaking in all but name.
    • A young man who had borrowed a large sum of money from his struggling now-disabled mother, for what he said was for business, spent it on getting a large sexually explicit back tattoo, and made no effort to pay it back. What made matters worse, was that their living quarters, consisted of the mother sleeping in an unsanitary closet with bad windows, which could've had fixed, if not for the loan, while the son slept in a comfy big bedroom, where he was bedding many women. All this, plus the young man's minimal remorse and casual cursing the whole way through.
      • Understandably, all three of the above cases ended with Rinder throwing the defendant out of the courtroom.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: While it's not a real-life courtroom it is a real-life case so Rinder warns that lying in court can get their cases thrown out of court.
    • Claims and counter-claims have been dismissed because the claimants didn't bring evidence to court, a fact that Rinder makes very clear when it happens.
    • Michelle is a real law clerk so she will look into cases and evidence before they come to court. When someone presented forged evidence Michelle found out and Rinder tore the perpetrator a new one.
    • Invoked by Rinder deliberately. He does not wear the court attire worn by actual judges in the UK (wearing his barristers robes without the wig instead) and all parties involved refer to him as either "Judge" or "Sir," (real life UK courts use some variant of "My Lord/Lady" for higher levels and "Your Honour" or "Sir" for the lower levels)
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • Both plaintiffs and defendants have argued their cases in such a way that it would put them in a more positive light in order to win their cases. Since lying is Rinder's Berserk Button (and some other measures done happen to be blatantly illegal) this usually doesn't work.
    • When Rinder was ruling over a case involving damaged clothing and unreturned property he had to pause the case for a moment after looking at photos the plaintiff had previously taken which he submitted as evidence.
    Rinder: Hang on a moment. [Defendant's name], I need to clarify something. this sweater in the photo... Are you wearing it?!
  • Rule of Three:
    • Three strikes, you're out. This is used to prevent unruly behaviour in the court from the two parties involved in the suit. What's notable, however, is that it isn't for one specific person.
    • In the one case where it's been used so far, the person who scored the most strikes was losing anyway so he was denied the chance to argue his case further. Of course, he did dare the judge to give him the third strike after he scored strike two...
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: There is one rule when it comes to jokes in his court - he's the only one allowed to make them. He will let people off if it was a genuine slip of the tongue or they weren't intentionally trying to make a joke.
  • Shoot the Dog: Even if he sympathizes with those involved in cases, he is required to rule according to the law which he isn't happy about in some cases.
  • Shout-Out: Many. The most notable is when a former boyfriend is being sued by his ex, Judge Rinder asks the boyfriend if there was sex involved between them, due to the nature of the suit. The boyfriend defendant says "no." The ex, says "yes." At this point, the boyfriend tries to split hairs and insists that Judge Rinder specified sexual intercourse, not just sexual activity. Judge Rinder retaliates by calling him Bill Clinton. The former boyfriend takes offense and shouts profanity, getting himself thrown out of court.
  • Shown Their Work: Justified, considering the genre. Rinder and Michelle both work in the British legal system and so a lot of their legal knowledge is used in this show, such as the phrase 'Caveat Emptor' or 'Buyer Beware'note  which comes up in a lot of cases on the show.
    • When he hands down his ruling, he'll take the time beforehand to explain (in plain English) to everyone in the room about the relevant laws at hand and why or why not the plaintiff or defendant are able to prove their case.
  • Start My Own / Take That!: Some defendants have sued the plaintiffs directly because they were sued. As Rinder has stated at least once, suing someone because they sued you first, especially if you would never have sued them first, is not legally allowed as it makes your case look purely vindictive and malicious.
  • Suddenly Shouting: If someone speaks out of turn and is being particularly annoying about it, Rinder will often call them out on their TALKING!
  • Tranquil Fury: When a defendant presented forged evidence in court Judge Rinder became unusually calm and threatening. Actually, pretty much any time he does get angry with someone, it'll be in this manner and he has very rarely yelled in his courtroom.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: To Judge Judy, although Judge Judy has been running for considerably longer (and is considerably more famous worldwide). This is occasionally the butt of jokes by Rinder, who seems to snarkily accept that he is in a sense stuck in her shadownote  and sometimes makes wisecracks to that effect.