- a self-appointed or mob-operated tribunal that disregards or parodies existing principles of law or human rights, especially one in a frontier area or among criminals in prison.
- any crudely or irregularly operated court, especially one so controlled as to render a fair trial impossible.
Origin of kangaroo court
- an irregular court, esp one set up by prisoners in a jail or by strikers to judge strikebreakers
A court that ignores principles of justice; a court characterized by incompetence and dishonesty.
A self-appointed tribunal that violates established legal procedure; also, a dishonest or incompetent court of law. For example, The rebels set up a kangaroo court and condemned the prisoners to summary execution, or That judge runs a kangaroo court—he tells rape victims they should have been more careful. This expression is thought to liken the jumping ability of kangaroos to a court that jumps to conclusions on an invalid basis. [Mid-1800s]