The high court and the utility of multiple judgments

Bagaric, Mirko and McConvill, James 2005, The high court and the utility of multiple judgments, High court quarterly review, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 13-43.

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Title The high court and the utility of multiple judgments
Author(s) Bagaric, Mirko
McConvill, James
Journal name High court quarterly review
Volume number 1
Issue number 1
Start page 13
End page 43
Publisher Sandstone Academic Press
Place of publication South Yarra, Vic.
Publication date 2005
ISSN 1449-9037
Keyword(s) law
laws, regulations & cases
Summary Recently, the High Court has been criticised for its supposed increasing tendency to deliver multiple majority judgments. Ostensibly this impairs the capacity for the Court to clarify and unify the law, thereby making it more difficult for citizens to plan and coordinate their affairs. This criticism of the High Court is unsound. First, there is no evidence to suggest that the High Court is now more fragmented than it has been during other periods of its history. Secondly, the precise reasoning process (and the underlying jurisprudence reflected by this) is a cardinal aspect of the development of precedent and legal principle. Convergence in conclusion only is of little utility and does not promote certainty and clarity in the law. One cannot make an informed assessment of the impact and breadth of a decision without an understanding of the (actual) premise underpinning the decision. It is for this reason that legislation is such a poor vehicle for declaring the law and why in recent decades there has been an increasing degree of reliance on extraneous material to assist in the interpretation of legislation. Conclusion without (genuine) reasons is not highly instructive. Coerced agreement, no matter how subtle, is undesirable. The High Court should resist calls to deliver more single majority judgments.
Language eng
Field of Research 180120 Legal Institutions (incl Courts and Justice Systems)
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2005, Sandstone Academic Press
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Document type: Journal Article
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