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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 2pm, 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 admits) 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.
  • Berserk Button: Cracking jokes when the judge makes it perfectly clear only he's allowed to do that, blatant disregard to procedure and forged evidence.
  • 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.
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  • Deadpan Snarker: Rinder can be very snarky.
  • 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.
  • Get Out!: Has thrown people out of his court for their antics, including one defendant who performed a firework prank 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.
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  • 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.
  • Reality Ensues: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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