COMMON LAW DEMANDS REASONS FOR A JUDGE’S DECSION

CANONS OF JUDICIAL ETHICS
19. Judicial Opinions.
In disposing of controverted cases, a judge should indicate the reasons for his action in an opinion showing that he has not disregarded or overlooked serious arguments of counsel. He thus shows his full understanding of the case, avoids the suspicion of arbitrary conclusion, promotes confidence in his intellectual integrity and may contribute useful precedent to the growth of the law.
Source: Black’s Law 4th Edition, 1968; revised 6 – 1971; page LXIXI;

dbfamilylaw

Reasons required in a judicial decision

I had always thought it axiomatic that, in giving judgment, a judge must include reasons for his/her decision. When a district judge in the Family Court in Exeter recently turned down an application for costs in a financial relief case in two lines of text in the pre-amble to her one line order, and insisted on a formal application if more reasons were to be given, I was forced to justify my assumptions.

In general an order for costs in matrimonial finance cases cannot be made (FPR 2010 r 28.3(5)), save where ‘conduct’ is alleged (r 28.3(6)). What is to be taken into account as conduct is defined by r 28.3(7). The district judge merely said r 28.3(5) was ‘relevant’ – well obviously that was the case since it was a finance case – and that there was no conduct ‘having regard to FPR…

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