On TV's Judge Judy, at the ruling of a case, each litigant is required to leave their paperwork as they exit the courtroom. This is especially notable because in nearly every case, both parties attempt to take them, and Byrd the bailiff instructs them that they cannot take the paperwork.

Why can't they take the paperwork? Is this now the property of the court? I've heard suggested that the parties should not be allowed to wield a potential weapon.


Judge Judy is not a real judge; it's a TV show where the "litigants" sign contracts to enter into arbitration (Wikipedia) on the show in the format of court proceedings.

The participants' travel expenses are paid by the show, as are the monetary settlements.

The papers that can't be removed could be anything: their contracts for the show, the settlement agreements, NDAs, etc. The fact that they can't take the paperwork is outlined in the contracts they sign to be on the show.

  • 5
    Well, she used to be a judge. She's a retired family court judge. But you're right in the sense that on the show she is not serving in the official role and capacity of a judge, but rather as an arbitrator with showy courtroom dress-up for ratings. – zibadawa timmy Jun 10 '18 at 12:33

Union contracts very specifically spell out what work is to be done by whom, and the job of taking props on and off the set is a job for a certain person. It seems like a very small thing, but it can turn into a serious labor dispute if you start letting other people do work that belongs to someone else under your collective bargaining agreement.

I don't know anything about where the show is filmed or which unions may be involved, but I know that this issue comes up with some regularity.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.