Karaoke Court is coming to Kent!

A unique arbitration process called ‘Karaoke Court’ is coming to Kent next year thanks to an interdisciplinary initiative by postgraduate legal research scholar Naomi Woods.

Naomi secured funding from Kent’s Postgraduate Experience Awards for a project to bring Karaoke Court to campus in Spring 2019.

Karaoke Court is an alternative arbitration process and live performance work in which participants select, prepare and perform songs as a way of resolving their disputes. The Karaoke Court judge invites a ‘jury’ comprised of audience members to decide who should win each case. The participants sign an arbitration contract which makes the jury’s decision legally binding.

At an initial planning meeting for the project, held this week, Naomi was joined by an enthusiastic group of postgraduate students for a lively discussion about the technical, ethical, political, philosophical and practical aspects of the court’s arbitration process with lawyer-turned-artist (and inventor of Karaoke Court) Jack Tan.

Naomi said: ‘Law students aren’t generally used to hearing about costumes, singing and performance art, but the social and theoretical themes behind Karaoke Court are of interest to many of us and there was plenty of discussion.’

The meeting helped affirm Naomi’s commitment to bringing the court to Kent but she and the project team are keen to involve more postgraduate students from across the faculties at Kent: ‘What would really make this project dynamic, is if we could also reach out to the School of Arts, particularly postgraduates interested in theatre and performance art, philosophy of art and legal aesthetics. This is an opportunity to produce a work which is both live art and effective law, and which has the potential to forge new interdisciplinary networks whilst encouraging people to think about major questions around justice and judgment.’

Naomi, who is undertaking an LLM by Research at Kent Law School, submitted an application for funding for the project to the University’s Postgraduate Experience Awards. Funding of up to £1,500 can be awarded for applications to run events or projects which have an interdisciplinary and/or external focus and which help build the postgraduate community at Kent. These events are run by postgraduates, for postgraduates, on a voluntary basis.