© 2018

Judges, Judging and Humour

  • Jessica Milner Davis
  • Sharyn Roach Anleu

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Sharyn Roach Anleu, Jessica Milner Davis
    Pages 1-38
  3. Humour About Judges

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 39-39
  4. Judges’ Use of Humour in the Courtroom

  5. Judicial Decisions About Humour

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 241-241
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 313-335

About this book


This book examines social aspects of humour relating to the judiciary, judicial behaviour, and judicial work across different cultures and eras, identifying how traditionally recorded wit and humorous portrayals of judges reflect social attitudes to the judiciary over time. It contributes to cultural studies and social science/socio-legal studies of both humour and the role of emotions in the judiciary and in judging. It explores the surprisingly varied intersections between humour and the judiciary in several legal systems: judges as the target of humour; legal decisions regulating humour; the use of humour to manage aspects of judicial work and courtroom procedure; and judicial/legal figures and customs featuring in comic and satiric entertainment through the ages.

Delving into the multi-layered connections between the seriousness of the work of the judiciary on the one hand, and the lightness of humour on the other hand, this fascinating collection will be of particular interest to scholars of the legal system, the criminal justice system, humour studies, and cultural studies.


Socio-legal studies Law Courtroom Emotions Criminal justice system Comedy Judicial humour humour studies cultural history of humour judges legal history traditional wit social attitudes satiric entertainment judicial studies humour in the workplace

Editors and affiliations

  • Jessica Milner Davis
    • 1
  • Sharyn Roach Anleu
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Literature, Arts and MediaUniversity of SydneySydney, NSWAustralia
  2. 2.College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Flinders UniversityAdelaide, SAAustralia

About the editors

Jessica Milner Davis FRSN is a member of Clare Hall Cambridge, UK; a research associate at the University of Sydney, Australia, and Brunel University’s Centre for Comedy Studies Research, UK; and past President of the International Society for Humor Studies. 

Sharyn Roach Anleu is Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia; a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia; and past President of The Australian Sociological Association. 

Bibliographic information


“Judges, Judging and Humour is filled with wonderful yarns and jokes about judges and the law. … It is a great read and would make the perfect gift for anyone with an interest in the law.” (Pauline Spencer, Alternative Law Journal, Vol. 44 (4), 2019)

“For those interested in the use of humour in and around courts this is a trove of studies, analysis and anecdotes. It is replete with endnotes for each essay and the lists of references together with an excellent index make it a valuable, if lonely, resource for those seeking some understanding of the vexing combination of judges, judging and humour.” (Glenn Martin AM, Australian Law Journal, Vol. 93 (8), August, 2019)

“Judges, Judging and Humour discusses both jokes and tales about judges and the way humour is sometimes used by judges in court. … contain gems which will be of interest to general readers, … I would suggest most other forms of humour- is to get the biggest possible laugh.” (Brian Eassty, The Salisbury Review, 2019)