In a groundbreaking legal experiment, the Bendigo Law Courts have unveiled their new mime courtroom. Designed to tackle the city’s growing backlog of criminal cases, defence and prosecution are forced to present their cases in complete silence, using only the expressive art of mime.
The legal proceedings in the mime courtroom are conducted entirely in pantomime and complete silence, aside from the occasional honking of tiny bicycle horns. It leaves no stone unturned – or box untrapped – in its pursuit of justice.
“Most of our cases have been resolved through a simple game of charades or the reenactment of crucial events, with a few thrown-in mimed gunfights for good measure,” said Judge McWhisper. “It’s incredible to watch two opposing lawyers engage in a tug-of-war with an invisible rope to determine the guilt or innocence of a defendant.”
The mime courtroom’s proceedings are an intricate ballet of nonverbal communication, with lawyers and judges alike clad in traditional mime attire, including striped shirts, white gloves and makeup. Defendants must wear a beret and carry a tiny bicycle horn for use during the proceedings.
In a recent high-profile case, a defence attorney spent 15 minutes trying to mime “reasonable doubt” to the jury, only for them to interpret his motions as an impromptu game of Pictionary.
While the mime courtroom’s unique approach to justice has received praise from some quarters for its creative and avant-garde nature, others argue that the absence of spoken language has dramatically slowed the legal process.
Nonetheless, the Bendigo Law Courts have plans to expand their avant-garde approach to justice, including a courtroom specializing in interpretive dance, where lawyers will Tiktok dance their way to the truth.