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Showing posts from January, 2019

Audi Alteram Partem and the Duty of the Judge to Give Reasons

No defendant should be judged without a fair hearing in which each party is given the opportunity to respond to the evidence against them. Audi alteram partem is considered to be a principle of fundamental justice or equity or the principle of natural justice in most legal systems. This principle includes the rights of a party or his lawyers to confront the witnesses against him, to have a fair opportunity to challenge the evidence presented by the other party, to summon one's own witnesses and to present evidence, and to have counsel, if necessary at public expense, in order to make one's case properly. The duty of a judge to give reasons for his/her decisions is a function of due process and therefore justice.  Its rationale has two principle aspects.
The first is that fairness surely requires that the parties should be left in no doubt of the bases for the judges’ findings.  This is especially so because without a reasoned decision the losing party will not know whether the co…


Many participants are concerned about how to address the judge; others worry about where they should sit and whether they should sit or stand; these concerns add to their likely anxiety and can be dispelled by a helpful introduction and a tactful explanation.
Lay people do not understand legal jargon and technical terms (“disclosure”, “submission”, “leading question”), so keep language as simple as possible and give clear explanations where required. Inappropriate language or behavior is likely to result in the perception of unfairness (even where there is none), loss of authority, loss of confidence in the system and the giving of offence.
A thoughtless comment, throw away remark, unwise joke or even a facial expression may confirm or create an impression of prejudice; it is how others interpret your words or actions that matters, particularly in a situation where they will be acutely sensitive to both.
Fair treatment does not mean treating everyone in the same way: it means treating…