• Robert Spicer

LIBEL: the board game: a bitter analysis of English civil procedure

LIBEL: the board game

This was devised by William Roache after he sued the Sun newspaper for printing a defamatory article about his portrayal of Ken Barlow in Coronation Street. The Sun called him boring and unpopular. He won the case. He then sued his lawyers and reportedly faced debts of £300,000.

The game, described as a legal game for all the family, with some similarities to Monopoly, can be seen as a bitter analysis of English civil procedure.

As a plaintiff in a libel case, each player races to gather together a legal team and successfully win their case. The game involves wooden figures moving around a board through the throw of a dice. Players have to collect cards to complete their legal team. These are priced at, for example, £5000 for a barrister, £7000 for a QC and £3000 for a solicitor.

The game has two stages. The first involves lengthy preliminaries with the expenditure of large sums of money (supplied with the game). The second stage – trial – leads eventually to judgment at the centre of the board. Again, there are lengthy moves and expensive developments. When all these moves and financial transactions are completed, the result is reached by the simple throw of a dice. Roache seems to be making a game of the high cost of legal representation and the chance element of judicial decisions.

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