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Working Hardly: Law Laughs

Chattering teeth toy

Studying law can leave you with a pretty academic sense of humour; something law-related that makes you laugh is great, but it’s even better if you can cite it. Experiencing law withdrawal, I went looking for some law-inspired laughs and discovered these real-life gems…

This awesome Aussie blog shares the hilarious musings of judges (and includes the all important case citations). I particularly loved this discussion from the High Court of Australia in McDonald's Australia Limited v Commissioner of Taxation S8/2000 [2000] HCATrans 544 (8 September 2000):

Kirby J: Why do you not make edible wrapping? It is not beyond the capacity of McDonald’s.

Mr Bloom: I think certain Chinese delicacies have rice paper as part of them, your Honour, and that is an example of something which is an integral part.

Kirby J: There would be no dispute.

Gleeson CJ: Would that improve the nutritional value of McDonald’s?

Mr Bloom: I am unable to help your Honour on that.

This website shares legal oddities from around the world. One case I read about involved a woman in the US who configured her Christmas lights to flip her neighbor the bird. The District Court in Denham Springs, Louisiana found that ordering the woman to take the offending lights down would infringe upon her right to free speech, and ruled in her favour!

The judicial humour page on the University of Washington’s law library website contains plenty of laughs from American courts. This site really highlights American judges’ excellent use of poetry in delivering their judgments, such as this one from Judge Goldberg in United States v. Batson, 782 F.2nd 1307 (5th Cir.1986):

Some farmers from Gaines had a plan.

It amounted to quite a big scam.

But the payments for cotton

Began to smell rotten.

T’was a mugging of poor Uncle Sam.

The ASCS and its crew

Uncovered this fraudulent stew.

After quite a few hearings,

The end is now nearing—

It awaits our judicial review.

The courtroom humour page on Gavel2Gavel is the place to go for an amazing collection of hilarious courtroom repartee. You couldn’t make this stuff up!

Prosecutor: Did you kill the victim?

Defendant: No, I did not.

Prosecutor: Do you know what the penalties are for perjury?

Defendant: Yes, I do. And they’re a hell of a lot better than the penalty for murder.

Well, that’s all folks!

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