Reserved judgments
Published by a LexisPSL Dispute Resolution expert

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

  • Reserved judgments
  • What is a reserved judgment?
  • Confidentiality of draft judgments
  • Lifting the embargo on confidentiality
  • What is the purpose of providing a draft judgment?
  • When handed a draft judgment what should I do?
  • Can I stop a draft judgment being handed down?
  • Timing and effect of delay in handing down a reserved judgment

Reserved judgments

What is a reserved judgment?

A court can reserve judgment by giving its decision at a later date in writing, after the trial or hearing (as opposed to an ex tempore judgment which is given by the judge orally straight after the hearing or trial). At the end of the hearing the judge will usually state that judgment is being reserved and will then later circulate a draft written judgment to the parties. This practice originated in the Court of Appeal, and it is common there and also in the High Court. Where judgment is to be reserved, the judge may, at the conclusion of the hearing, invite the parties’ legal representatives’ views about the arrangements made for the handing down of the judgment (CPR PD 40E, para 2.1). The draft judgment will be provided to the parties’ legal representatives by 4 pm on the second working day before it is formally handed down, or otherwise as directed by the court (CPR PD 40E, para 2.3).

This is a practice for the court’s convenience and in the court’s discretion. In Farrer & Co LLP v Meyer, the defendant’s appeal against an order for contempt and the making of a suspended prison sentence, a postscript to the Court of Appeal’s judgment indicated that a draft copy of the judgment had been sent only to the claimant’s

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