The Constitutional Duty to Give Reasons for Judicial Decisions

29 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2017

See all articles by Luke Beck

Luke Beck

Monash University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: October 1, 2017

Abstract

There is clear authority in Australia that reasons for judicial decisions should ordinarily, although not always, be provided and that a failure to provide reasons, where they are required, is an error of law. This article makes two central doctrinal arguments. The first doctrinal argument is that it is a defining characteristic of courts and of the exercise of judicial power that reasons for judicial decisions are always given. The second doctrinal argument is that a failure to provide reasons is not just an error of law but is a jurisdictional error.

This article also provides important statistical data on the practice of giving reasons for applications for leave and special leave to appeal by the New South Wales Court of Appeal and the High Court. That analysis shows that the New South Wales Court of Appeal always complies with the constitutional duty to provide reasons for judicial decisions in respect of leave to appeal applications but that the High Court only sometimes complies with that constitutional duty in respect of special leave to appeal applications.

Keywords: duty to give reasons, judicial decision, decision-making, special leave to appeal, defining characteristics, courts, judicial power

Suggested Citation

Beck, Luke, The Constitutional Duty to Give Reasons for Judicial Decisions (October 1, 2017). University of New South Wales Law Journal, Vol. 40, No. 3, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3046094

Luke Beck (Contact Author)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

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