Reserved judgments

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

  • Reserved judgments
  • What is a reserved judgment?
  • Confidentiality
  • 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 is common practice in the High Court. Where judgment is to be reserved the judge may, at the conclusion of the hearing, invite the views of the parties’ legal representatives as to 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).

For information on the timing for handing down reserved judgments, see: Timing and effect of delay in handing down a reserved judgment.


When a draft judgment is supplied to the parties it must be kept confidential until it is formally handed down and must not be disclosed to any other person or used in the public domain and no action (other than internally) can be taken in response

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