Written by Joe Dent
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Topics: England, Wales

Monday, 6 December 2004

image for Stress Free Courts Plan for England and Wales
Lord Falconer In Sensible Attire

Lord Falconer is to make sweeping changes to the judiciary across England and Wales in an attempt to reduce stress to victims and witnesses.

The Lord Chancellor announced the changes during a tightrope walk at Big Allan's Big Circus in Nottingham.

While making his careful way across the twenty-metre high rope while dressed as a clown, Lord Falconer told an audience of children and adults and animals: "This is stressful. One false move, one slip of the foot and I'm dead. I feel terribly stressed. I expect victims and witnesses in court often feel something quite similar. I intend to change that."

Having made it successfully across the rope, the Lord Chancellor threw himself down into a large polka-dotted blanket held taut by a circle of seven clowns, bounced three metres into the air, performed a triple somersault, and landed gracefully on his feet.

After this display, he addressed the audience with the following. "I intend to have all judges dress as clowns in the future. Should a judge see a witness growing stressed, he will squeeze his big red nose, which will emit a loud honk. This will undoubtedly cause the witness to laugh, thereby reducing stress. I also intend to introduce a jester into every court in the land. He, or perhaps she, will move among persons in the court, spreading merriment with whispered jokes or a tickle under the armpit."

At this point the seven clowns and Lord Falconer ripped off their clown outfits to reveal the usual judge's wig and robes. The audience, thus far silent, burst into laughter at seeing the ridiculous attire of the men.

The Lord Chancellor's intention of making trials less stressful coincides with his plans to allow television cameras into courts as long as they are operated by comedians.

Added to this his desire to have Ken Dodd appear at particularly stressful trials and it seems courts may even become fun.

"There is a worry, of course, that the courts could become too welcoming," said an aide to the Lord Chancellor. "I mean, we don't want people committing crimes just so they can appear in court, do we?"

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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