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What's a Kangaroo Court?

In sporting parlance, a Kangaroo Court (or 'fines' system) is a form of mock justice system in which players are fined for unruly behaviour, on and/or off the field. It follows the time-honoured (and some might say draconian) principle that one is guilty until proven innocent. Sound a bit grim? It certainly does.... However, it can make for a fair bit of fun when applied on a sports team, or any team where it's possible to make mistakes or bloopers for that matter!

If you want to find out the definition of a Kangaroo Court, have a look on Wikipedia - especially the part about sports teams. The gist of it is that during the season your team has one or more 'sheriffs', who note down whenever someone makes a mistake, or does something else that is notable enough to warrant possible punishment. Anyone on the team can nominate others for fines, but it's up to the Sheriff to make sure they're recorded.

At the end of the season, or even earlier depending on how many fines everyone has, the team gets together and has a 'Court Session', where each player is made to pay for his/her offences during the season. Usually this takes the form of drinking E.g. 1 fine = 1 drink, however, fines can also be repaid in other ways depending on how the team wants to do things. E.g. 1 fine = $1 (either to buy stuff for the team, or for fund raising and donating to charity), or in a very harsh team, 1 fine = 1km round the track!

What are some of the fines?

Each team has its own rules about how much a player should be fined for a given offence. What constitutes an 'offence' also varies between teams, and different sports. For example, some teams might focus on mental errors, or off-field behaviour (E.g. not turning up to training), whilst others may fine players for any indiscretion regardless of when/where it occurred. If you're looking for inspiration and ideas on what sort of fines might apply to a given sport, check out our fine schedules page, which shows the list of common fines that various teams have shared. If you'd like to share your team's fine schedule, then go ahead and join, add your team, and then add your very own fine schedule for all to see.

What happens at the 'Court Session'?

As mentioned earlier, at a 'Court Session', players are made to repay their debt to society in whatever manner is decided by the team. Court sessions are often held at the end of the season, however, they can also be held mid-season, or whenever the Sheriff or team deems it necessary. Another aspect worth noting is that when the court is in session, the rest of the team can influence whether a player should be punished for an offence. E.g. If the Sheriff reads out one of your fines and the team isn't happy with it, they may demand that it gets raised - mob mentality in action! That's why it's often helpful to have an 'impartial jury' present, usually comprised of a couple of friends who also don't mind the odd tipple, who can listen to both the Sheriff and the player's side of the story, and reach a suitable verdict. 99% of the time the fine will be upheld, and generally (by popular demand) raised due to the player wasting everyone's time arguing! However, in the rare instance that the verdict is overturned, the Sheriff can be charged with corruption and made to pay a harsh penalty.

It's usually up to the 'Sheriff' and 'Judge' to maintain order at Court, and if they decide things are going to slow, or certain players are dragging the chain, they may dispense summary justice. Often this involves either penalty vessels, boat races, waterfalls, cash, or other on-the-spot fines, depending on the team.

Why should I use this site?

The Sheriff needs to be able to record and track fines throughout the season, so that he/she, and every else on the team know what's in store for them when the Court Session comes around. They also need to be able to have a fair record of the fines for the Court Session (either printed off, or on-screen) so that everyone can see what they're being punished for, and to make the proceedings as accurate and entertaining as possible. This is where we can help! With The Kangaroo Court YOU can keep track of all your game/fine data. You can also invite others on your team to view their fines and share the fun. Finally, you get to generate fancy reports and graphs to impress everyone with at the end of the season. This makes the system easier to run for the Sheriff, and easier for the team (as unhappy Sheriffs tend to be a bit less lenient to folk who err on the side of lawlessness!).

Any kind of team can run a fines system - whether it's cricket, golf, baseball, rugby, soccer, AFL, hockey, work, or any other team sport. If you're on a team with a fines system, be it amateur or professional, you should be using the Kangaroo Court.

How else could you use this site, and how can we make it better?

You can probably think of other ways a site like this might be useful, possibly even for the opposite, where good behaviour is recorded and rewarded (although on most teams that's unlikely eh?!). If you have any ideas like that, please Contact Us and we'll try to get your ideas up on the site to help others.

Enjoy your chosen sport/s, good luck with your fines management, and go forth and serve in the name of Justice!

Helpful resources and links

Our history

This site was born in Wellington, New Zealand, based on the needs of a social cricket team with a fairly comprehensive 'fines system' in place. It was driven by the desire for everyone to be able to see what their fines were during the season, and make the whole system more fun and entertaining.

The team 'Sheriff' got sick of having to respond to player's emails asking how many fines they were on, and hence the idea for using a public website (rather than an Access database) to record the fines came about. After an initial launch which just allowed for our cricket team to manage their fines, we thought why not share the love so that other teams could do the same?

Currently our 'web team' consists of one developer, and a social cricket team who act as ideas gurus, testers, and users. Hopefully as more teams come on board we'll extend the site so cater for more advanced 'justice systems' and help teams everywhere run their own Kangaroo Courts and have a great time doing it! If you have any ideas for the site or would like to get in contact, please Contact Us and we'll see if we can incorporate your chosen features.