‘All judgments are capable of improvement’ – the advocate’s duty to seek further reasons and knowing where to draw the line

This article examines the duty of advocates to seek further reasons and/or points of clarification following the delivery of a judgment. In particular, the article explores the limits of this duty and how far it is necessary and permissible to go in asking the judge to deliver additional reasons. Recent guidance from the Court of Appeal in Re O (a child) (judgment: adequacy of reasons) FD v A local authority and others [2021] EWCA Civ 149 suggests that there will be some circumstances where the court’s reasoning is so flawed that an application for further reasons would in reality be asking the judge to provide the ‘foundations of the judgment.’ The article sets out the factors advocates should consider when approaching the court for further reasons/clarification in light of this decision.

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