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The Art and Craft of Judgment-Writing: A Primer for Common Law Judges


ISBN13: 9781787428577
Published: April 2022
Publisher: Globe Law and Business
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £95.00



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Judges are increasingly aware that the best way of enhancing public confidence in court systems is not only by providing a quality service but doing so compassionately and respectfully. The art and craft of judgment-writing is a critical element of this process. This book looks at the judgments of historically great judgment-writers from the US, UK and wider common law world (in particular Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Israel and New Zealand). It is written not from the perspective of what the author can teach but with the aim of identifying essential elements of good judgment-writing in great judgments and insightful commentary.

Written by Dr Max Barrett, a judge of the High Court of Ireland, individual chapters focus on subjects such as judgment purpose, length, style and structure, concurring and dissenting judgments, judgment-writing for children and vulnerable parties, as well as more general lessons in good writing offered by great authors from Orwell to Twain. Among the lessons to be taken from great common law judges are that:

  • a good judgment possesses an ability to rise above immediate facts and to see a problem in its wider perspective
  • a sense of empathy/sympathy for those faring badly is always important, and
  • there is nothing wrong with language that is occasionally flowery and ornate; however, the best judgments are crisp and persuasive

A great author such as Mark Twain teaches, for example, that:

  • every element of a judgment should be necessary to that judgment and any unnecessary element excised
  • any person or event included in a judgment should be included for a reason, and
  • a judge should always use the right word for what she wants to state, ‘not its second cousin’

This book is intended for novice superior court judges, their more seasoned colleagues and all with an interest in legal writing (including legal practitioners, law teachers and law students). Lower-court judges required to write judgments should find the book valuable; and judges at all levels should find the additional chapter on ex tempore judgments of use.

Subjects:
Legal Skills and Method, Judiciary
Contents:
Preface
Sir Robin Jacob
Foreword
Part I: The theory of the art and craft of judgment-writing
1. On judgments
2. Judgments: purpose and audience
3. Judgment-length
4. Judgment-style
5. Judgment-structure
6. Dissenting and concurring judgments
7. Children, families, and immigrants
8. Authors and judges
Part II: The practice of the art and craft of judgment-writing
9. Three great and pioneering women judges
10. Three great American judges
11. Three great British judges
12. Great judges from the wider common law world
Part III: Ex tempore judgments
13. The art and craft of ex tempore judgments
Table of cases
Appendix: the judgment as the art of truth
Select bibliography
Table of cases
Australia
Australian Communist Party v Commonwealth (1951) 83 C.L.R.
1 (HCA).
Bank of New South Wales v The Commonwealth [1948] HCA 7 (HCA).
Birmingham v Renfrew (1937) 57 C.L.R.
666 (HCA).
Hadid v Redpath [2001] NSWCA 416 (NSW CA).
Yerkey v Jones (1939) 63 C.L.R.
649 (HCA).
Canada
Andrews v Law Society of British Columbia [1989] 1 S.C.R.
143 (SC).
Cojocaru v British Columbia Women’s Hospital & Health Center [2013] 2 S.C.R.
357 (SC).
R. v Cameron [1966] 2 O.R.777 (Ontario CA).
R. v Burnshine [1975] 1 S.C.R.
693 (SC).
Nova Scotia Board of Censors v McNeil [1978] 2 S.C.R.
662 (SC).
Attorney General for Canada & Dupond v Montreal [1978] 2 S.C.R.
770 (SC).
R. v Morgentaler [1988] 1 S.C.R.
30 (SC).
R. v Lavallée [1990] 1 S.C.R.
852 (SC).
R. v Sheppard [2002] 1 S.C.R.
869 (SC).
England and Wales; Scotland
A & others v Home Secretary [2004] UKHL 56; [2005] 2 A.C.
68 (HL).
A v Home Secretary (No 2) [2005] UKHL 71; [2006] 2 A.C.
221 (HL).
Abrath v North-Eastern Railway Company [1886-90] All E.R. Rep.
179 (HL).
Allen v Jambo Holdings Ltd [1980] 1 W.L.R.
1252 (CA).
Banco de Portugal v Waterlow [1932] A.C.
452 (HL).
Barclays Bank v O’Brien [1994] 1 A.C.
180 (HL).
Beamish v Beamish (1861) 11 E.R.
735 (HL).
Bell v Lever Bros [1932] A.C.
161 (HL).
Beswick v Beswick [1966] Ch.
538 (CA).
Bole v Horton (1673) 124 E.R.
1113 (CtCP).
Bowen v Hall (1881) 6 Q.B.D.
333 (CA).
Bromley v Bromley [1964] 3 All E.R.
226 (CA).
Burt v Claude Cousins & Co. Ltd [1971] 2 QB 426 (CA).
Cambridge Water Co Ltd v Eastern Counties Leather plc [1994] 2 A.C.
264 (HL).
Candler v Crane Christmas and Co. [1951] 2 K.B.
164 (CA).
Caswell v Powell Duffryn Associated Collieries [1940] A.C.
152 (HL).
Central London Property Trust Ltd v High Trees House Ltd [1956] 1 All E.R.
256 (KBD).
Cinnamond v British Airports Authority [1980] 1 W.L.R.
582 (CA).
Cornford v Carlton Bank Ltd [1899] 1 Q.B.
392 (QBD).
Cauldwell Concrete Flooring Ltd v HMRC [2016] UKFIT 776 (TC).
Coventry Corporation v Surrey County Council [1935] A.C.
199 (HL).
Darlington Borough Council v Wiltshire Northern Ltd [1995] 1 W.L.R.
68 (CA).
De Falco v Crawley Borough Council [1980] QB 460 (CA).
Deeble v Robinson [1954] 1 Q.B.
77 (CA).
Dickson v Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain [1967] Ch.
708 (CA).
Distinctive Properties (Ascot) Ltd and Secretary of State for Communities and Local
Government [2015] EWHC 729 (HC).
Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] A.C.
562 (HL).
DPP v Smith [1961] A.C.
290 (HL).
Erlenger v New Sombrero Phosphate Co. [1874-80] All E.R. Rep.
271 (HL).
Everett v Griffiths [1920] 3 K.B.
163 (CA), [1921] 1 A.C.
631 (HL).
Eves v Eves [1975] 1 W.L.R.
1338 (CA).
Ex parte Hook [1976] 3 All E.R.
452 (CA).
Ex parte Hosenball [1977] 1 W.L.R.
766 (CA).
Ex parte Johnson Trust Ltd [1974] QB 24 (CA).
Fender v Mildmay [1938] A.C.
1 (HL).
Financial Conduct Authority v Arch Insurance (UK) Ltd and ors [2021] UKSC 1 (SC).
Flower v Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron and Coal Co Ltd [1934] 2 K.B.
132 (KBD/CA).
Gautret v Egerton (1867) L.R.
2 C.P.
371 (CtCP).
Gee v National Trust [1966] 1 All E.R.
954 (CA).
George Mitchell (Chesterhall) Ltd v Finney Lock Seeds [1982] 3 W.L.R.
1036 (CA).
Ghani v Jones [1969] 3 All E.R.
1700 (CA).
Gregson v Gilbert (1783) 99 E.R.
629 (Ct.KB).
H v H [2020] EWFC 9 (Fam.Ct).
Hedley Byrne & Co. Ltd v Heller & Partners Ltd [1964] A.C.
465 (HL).
Hinz. v Berry [1970] 2 Q.B.
40 (CA).
Indermaur v Dames (1866) L.R.
1 C.P.
274 (CtCP).
Inland Revenue Commissioners v Rossminster Ltd [1980] 2 W.L.R.
1 (HL).
Ionian Bank Ltd v Couvreur [1969] 1 W.L.R.
781 (CA).
James v Minister for Pensions [1947] K.B.
867 (CA).
Jennings Motors Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment [1982] 2 W.L.R.
131 (CA).
Jones v Randall (1774) 98 E.R.
954 (CtKB).
Kelly v London Transport Executive [1982] 2 All E.R.
842 (CA).
Kemble v Farren (1829) 130 E.R.
1234 (CtCP).
Lamb v Camden Borough Council [1981] Q.B.
625 (CA).
Lancashire County Council v M and others [2016] EWFC 9 (HC).
Langdon v Suremanor Ltd [1984] Lexis Citation 1538 (CA).
Lau v Chu [2020] UKPC 24 (PC).
Levinson v Patent Steam Carpet Cleaning Co Ltd [1978] Q.B.
69 (CA).
Liversidge v Anderson [1942] A.C.
206 (HL).
Lloyds Bank Ltd v Bundy [1975] Q.B.
326 (CA).
Mandla v Dowell Lee [1983] QB 1 (CA).
Marks v Feldman (1870) L.R.
5 Q.B.
275 (Exch.).
Marsden v Regan [1954] 1 All E.R.
423 (CA).
McIlkenny v Chief Constable of West Midlands Police Force [1980] 2 All E.R.
227 (CA).
Midland Bank Trust Co Ltd v Green [1980] Ch.
590 (CA).
Midland Bank Trust Co Ltd v Green (No.
3) [1982] 2 W.L.R.
1 (CA).
Miller v Jackson [1977] Q.B.
966 (CA).
Ministry of Defence v Jeremiah [1980] 1 Q.B.
87 (CA).
Mr Patrick v Mrs Patrick [2017] Lexis Citation 282 (Sh.Ct).
Myers v Milton Keynes Development Corporation [1974] 1 W.L.R.
696 (CA).
Nakkuda Ali v Jayartyne [1951] A.C.
66 (PC).
Pearse v Pearse (1846) 63 E.R.
950 (Ct.Ch.).
Pharmaceutical Society v London and Provincial Supply Association [1874-80] All E.R. Rep.
Ext.
1363 (HL).
Phillips v Eyre (1870) L.R.
6 Q.B.
1 (Exch.).
R. (Forge Care Homes Ltd and ors) v Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and ors
[2016] EWCA Civ.
26 (CA).
R. v Druitt (1867) 10 Cox C.C.
592 (CCC).
R. v Middleton [1861-73] All E.R. Rep. Ext.
1120 (CtCC).
R. v Prince [1874-80] All E.R. Rep.
881 (CCR).
R. v Slough Borough Council [1981] Q.B.
801 (CA).
R. (Begum) v Governors of Denbigh High School [2006] UKHL 15; [2007] 1 A.C.
100 (HL).
R. (Jackson) v Attorney General [2005] UKHL 56; [2006] 1 A.C.
262 (HL).
R. (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2016] EWHC 2768
(Admin.) (Div. Ct).
Radcliffe v Ribble Motor Services [1939] A.C.
215 (HL).
Rank Film Distributors Ltd v Video Information Centre [1982] A.C.
380 (CA).
Re A: A Letter to a Young Person [2017] EWFC 48 (HC).
Re C (Interim Care Order) [2011] EWCA Civ.
918 (CA).
Read v J. Lyons and Co. Ltd [1947] A.C.
156 (HL).
Reid v Metropolitan Police Commissioner [1973] Q.B.
551 (CA).
Riche v Ashbury Railway Carriage Co (1874) L.R.
9 Exch.
224 (Exch).
Rylands v Fletcher [1861-73] All E.R. Rep.
1 (HL).
Secretary of State for Employment v Globe Elastic Thread Co. Ltd [1979] QB 183 (CA).
Shell International Petroleum Ltd v Gibbs [1982] 2 W.L.R.
745 (CA).
Shirt v Shirt [2012] EWCA Civ.
1029 (CA).
Somerset’s Case; Somerset v Stewart (1772) 98 E.R.
499 (KB).
Southam v Smout [1964] 1 Q.B.
308 (CA).
Southcote v Stanley (1856) 156 E.R.
1195 (Exch.).
SS v NS (Spousal Maintenance) [2014] EWHC 4183 (Fam) (HC).
Tenant v Goldwin [1704] 92 E.R.
222 (KB).
Thomas v Roberts (1850) 64 E.R.
693 (VC.Ct.).
TuneIn Inc v Warner Music U.K. Ltd and anor [2021] EWCA Civ.
441 (CA).
White v Jones [1995] 2 A.C.
207 (CA).
Yates v Yates [1988] Lexis Citation 1427 (CA).
European Court of Human Rights
Hutchinson v United Kingdom [2017] ECHR 57592/08.
Sunday Times v United Kingdom [1979] ECHR 6538/74.
India
ADM Jabalpur v Shivkant Shukla 1976 A.I.R.
1207 (SCI).
Kesavananda Bharati v State of Kerala (1973) 4 SC 225 (SCI).
K.S. Puttaswamy v Union of India (2017) 10 S.C.C.
1 (SCI).
Shine v Union of India (2018) 46 B.H.R.C.
637 (SCI).
State of Gujarat v Justice RA Mehta (Retd) [2013] 1 S.C.R.
1 (SCI).
Ireland
Byrne v Ireland [1972] IR 241 (SC).
CC v Ireland [2006] 4 I.R.
1 (SC).
McGee v Attorney General [1974] IR 287 (SC).
MH and SH (a minor suing by her mother and next friend) v Minister for Justice and
Equality (No.2) [2020] IEHC 436 (HC).
State (Quinn) v Ryan [1965] IR 70 (SC).
State (Ryan) v Lennon [1935] IR 170 (SC).
Walsh and Cassidy v County Council for the County Sligo [2014] 2 I.L.R.M.
161 (SC).
Israel
Kol Ha’am Co. Ltd v Minister of the Interior (1953) HCJ 73/53 (SC/HCJ).
Mandelbrot v Attorney General (1956) CrimA 118/53 (SC/CCA).
Seedis v Seedis (1954) Special Tribunal 1/50 (SC/Sp.Trib.).
Shmuel v Attorney General (1964) CA 525/63 (SC).
New Zealand
Lodder v Lodder [1921] NZLR 876 (SC).
Park v Minister for Education [1922] NZLR 1208 (SC).
Taylor v Combined Buyers Ltd [1924] NZLR 627 (SC).
United states
Abrams v United States 250 U.S.
616 (1919) (SC).
Adair v United States 208 U.S.
161 (1908) (SC).
Boumediene v Bush 553 U.S.
723 (2008) (SC).
Bowers v Hardwick 478 U.S.
186 (1986) (SC).
Buck v Bell 274 U.S.
200 (1927) (SC).
Burnet v Coronado Oil & Gas Co.
285 U.S.
393 (1932) (SC).
Bush v Gore 531 U.S.
98 (2003) (SC).
City of Sherrill v Oneida Indian Nation of New York 544 U.S.
197 (2005) (SC).
Commonwealth v Robin 421 Pa.70 (Pa.
1966) (Penn.SC).
Communications Assn v Douds 339 U.S.
382 (1950) (SC).
District of Columbia v Heller 128 S. Ct.
2783 (2008) (SC).
Engle v Isaac 456 U.S.
107 (1982) (SC).
Fisher v Lowe 333 N.W.
2d 67 (Mich. Ct. App.
1983) (Michigan CA).
Gitlow v New York 268 U.S.
652 (1925) (SC).
Grutter v Bollinger 539 U.S.
306 (2003) (SC).
Hein v Freedom from Religion Foundation 551 U.S.
587 (2007) (SC).
Johnson v Transportation Agency 480 U.S.
616 (1987) (SC).
Korematsu v United States 323 U.S.
214 (1944) (SC).
Kunz v New York 340 U.S.
290 (1951) (SC).
Lampf v Gibertson 501 U.S.
350 (1991) (SC).
Lawrence v Texas 539 U.S.
558 (2003) (SC).
Lee v Weisman 505 U.S.
577 (1992) (SC).
Lochner v New York 198 U.S.
45 (1905) (SC).
Marbury v Madison 5 U.S.
137 (1803) (SC).
Massachusetts v United States 333 U.S.
611 (1948) (SC).
MacPherson v Buick Motor Co 217 NY 382 (1916) (New York CA).
McGrath v Kristensen 340 U.S.
162 (1950) (SC).
Mississippi University for Women v Hogan 458 U.S.
718 (1982) (SC).
Northern Securities Co. v United States 193 U.S.
197 (1904) (SC).
Obergefell v Hodges 576 U.S.
644 (2015) (SC).
Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v Casey 505 U.S.
833 (1992) (SC).
Plaut v Spendthrift Farm Incorporated 514 U.S.
211 (1995) (SC).
Reed v Allen 286 U.S.
191 (1931) (SC).
Republican Party of Minnesota v White 536 U.S.
765 (2002) (SC).
Roe v Wade 410 U.S.
113 (1973) (SC).
Rosenberger v Rector 515 U.S.
819 (1995) (SC).
Schenck v United States 249 U.S.
47 (1919) (SC).
Shaughnessy v Mezei 345 U.S.
206 (1953) (SC).
Southern Pacific Co. v Jensen 244 U.S.
205 (1917) (SC).
Standard Fire Insurance Co. v Reese (1979) 584 SW 2d 835 (Texas SC).
Terminiello v Chicago 337 U.S.
1 (1949) (SC).
United States v Johnson 221 U.S.
488 (1911) (SC).
United States v South-Eastern Underwriters Association 322 U.S.
533 (1944) (SC).
United States v Virginia 518 U.S.
515 (1996) (SC).
West Virginia State Board of Education v Barnette 319 U.S.
624 (1943) (SC).
Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v Sawyer 343 U.S.
579 (1952) (SC)