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Court of Appeal unveils new "short form" judgment

Date of Publication: 
9 February 2017
Summary: 
Judges encouraged to stop unnecessarily long judgments and replace them with more concise rulings

Court of Appeal unveils new "short form" judgment

09 February 2017
EIN

As reported in The Telegraph and The Times, the Court of Appeal on Tuesday handed down an immigration judgment in a new "short form" format.

EIN members can read the judgment in BS (Congo) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWCA Civ 53 here.

According to The Telegraph, Court of Appeal judges have been encouraged to stop unnecessarily long judgments and replace them with more concise rulings.

Tuesday's judgment, in which an appeal by the Secretary of State for the deportation of a national of the Democratic Republic of Congo was dismissed, ran to just 24 paragraphs and was under 1,200 words.

The Times notes it was the Court's first use of the new "short form" judgment.

Lady Justice Rafferty explained in the judgment: "This is a short form judgment which, with the encouragement of Sir Terence Etherton MR, judges of the Court of Appeal may in future use for appellate decisions in appropriate cases. This appeal raises no issue of law, precedent or other matters of general significance and the relevant facts and documentary material are set out in the judgment under appeal and are not in dispute."

A spokesman from the Judicial Office told The Telegraph: "The Master of the Rolls has encouraged the use of more short form judgments in the Court of Appeal. The shorter judgments are possible in cases where there are no issues of law, principle or wider general significance, and where all the relevant facts are set out in the judgment of the court below, and are not disputed in the appeal.

"In such cases, it may be possible to avoid reciting all the facts, the course of the proceedings and the judgments below, and proceed, after a brief introduction, to a statement of the decision on the principal arguments on the appeal and the outcome of the appeal."

The Legal Cheek blog expects "tired-eyed law students" to be delighted by the new format.