The Court of Appeal has given its first “short form” judgment, dismissing  an appeal about a deportation order in 26 short paragraphs (1117 words). My favourite is paragraph 17: “There is nothing in this point”.

It is already usual for two judges in the Court of Appeal to add nothing to the leading judgment. What kept this judgment exta-short was:

  • It says nothing about the (undisputed) facts or the law. It refers instead to the previous judgment for this information.
  • It says nothing about the history of the dispute or previous decisions.
  • It states each ground of appeal in one line of text, and dismisses each in a couple of sentences.
  • It gives no context or facts, except those relied on to challenge or justify the decision.

The parties, though not the public, had the previous decision and all the background information. If (as the judgment says) the appeal raised no question of law, precedent, or anything of general significance, why should the public want to know more?

The judgment records that the Master of the Rolls encourages the Court of Appeal to use this short form where appropriate.

BS(Congo) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWCA Civ 53, 7 February 2017

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