Amending judgments
Amending judgments

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Amending judgments
  • The court’s jurisdiction to amend judgments
  • Timing of reviewing judgments
  • Correcting accidental slips or omissions—the slip rule
  • Material amendments by the judge
  • Material amendments requested by a party
  • Examples of amendments allowed
  • Examples of amendments not allowed

The court’s jurisdiction to amend judgments

Judgments are handed down following the end of a trial. They may be handed down at trial orally—known as an ex tempore judgment—or some time after trial as a written judgment (indeed, ex tempore judgments may also be written up as judgment transcripts). The judgment will contain the judge’s reasoning and decision. In some cases, judgments may also contain consequential orders such as an order as to costs or directions as to how costs should be dealt with.

It is well established that the court has jurisdiction to amend a judgment after it has been handed down, but before the order giving effect to the judgment has been drawn up and perfected (Paulin v Paulin, Re L and B (Children)). In Regen Lab SA v Estar Medical, the court noted that, even after judgment has been handed down, provided the order has not been sealed, a court may reopen the trial and hear further evidence. Pursuant to CPR 40.2(2)(b), an order or judgment is perfected when it is sealed by the court.

As stated by the Supreme Court in Re L and B (Children), there is no need for 'exceptional circumstances' before a post-judgment amendment can be made (as suggested by the Court of Appeal in Re Barrell Enterprises); rather, every case will depend on