Settle legal disputes through song at Hackney’s quirky Karaoke Court

Singers at the Karaoke Court. Picture: Weizhong

Singers at the Karaoke Court. Picture: Weizhong - Credit: Archant

Settling a legal dispute is often an ugly and jargon-filled affair but a new “Karaoke Court” is hoping to change all that – by asking litigants to sort out their differences through song.

The jury at Karaoke Court. Picture: Weizhong

The jury at Karaoke Court. Picture: Weizhong - Credit: Archant

For one night only tonight (Thursday), angry neighbours, disgruntled employees and argumentative friends can resolve their legal qualms by singing karaoke in front of an audience “jury,” who decide who wins by voting for their favourite litigant.

The sing-off at the Yard Theatre in Hackney Wick is even legally binding, with participants signing an arbitration contract before they start their vocal battle.

A real district judge, Rachel Karp, oversees proceedings.

The Karaoke Court is part of an eight-week residency called Law’s Imagination at Hackney Wick’s Arebyte Gallery by artist Jack Tan.

The court is one of six projects which explore how art can unlock more creative approaches to legal practices.


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Tan, who plays the role of the court clerk, says: “We usually perceive litigation as a negative experience – one which corrodes relationships and goodwill, one which divides rather than unites.

“Karaoke Court turns that on its head. It is constructive, not destructive; through humour and performance, it encourages cohesion.” After disputes are settled, a DJ will provide music late into the night.

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Tan was inspired by the Inuit and Eskimo tradition of song duels, where people would present civil cases for judgment by the community using humorous or satirical songs.

Tickets here.

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