The question of how best to structure judgments is an ongoing one. This article is based on the premise that judges should convey their reasoning in a form that reflects the simple and repetitive logic of the law. It provides a seven-step recipe for writing clearly structured judgments that convey logical reasoning and contain context before details, clearly partitioned issues and succinct arguments. This paper concerns itself with the the fundamentals of judgment writing and has relevance to any writing of persuasive legal arguments. It has been referred to in courses about judgment writing, particularly with its ‘plain language approach’.
Debate has raged for some time about how judges actually judge – whether or not they do so intuitively or based on a more exact and deliberative approach. This paper explores both options, giving consideration to the propensity for the human brain to make snap judgments that are surprisingly accurate but that can also result in errors. Having analysed both approaches, the authors then consider reforms to the system
Currently the Director of University of Adelaide Press, John has published numerous articles and book chapters as postgraduate student in journals in Australia, France, Belgium, UK and USA. Since 2002 he has published numerous articles in the Law Society’s Bulletin and in The Advertiser on legal history topics. For the Bulletin he has done a series of profiles of South Australian Supreme Court judges from the first to current judges.This piece questions the state of our courts and is relevant because of its consideration of one of the fundamental pillars – judicial independence.