A judge was properly criticised for failing to write up a judgment when the witness’ evidence was still fresh in his mind. A two year delay required a re-trial.
Peter Gibson LJ explained the potential effect of delay on the formulation and finalisation of findings of fact in these terms: ‘Because of the delay in giving judgment, it has been incumbent upon us to look with especial care at any finding of fact which is now challenged. In ordinary circumstances where there is a conflict of evidence a judge who has seen and heard the witnesses has an advantage, denied to an appellate court, which is likely to prove decisive on an appeal, unless it can be shown that he failed to use, or misused this advantage. We do not lose sight of the fact that the judge had transcripts of the evidence, as well as very extensive written submissions from Counsel. But the very fact of the huge delay in itself weakened the judge’s advantage, and this consideration had to be taken into account when we reviewed the material which was before the judge. In a case as complex as this, it is not uncommon for a judge to form an initial impression of the likely result at the end of the evidence, but when he has come to study the evidence (both oral and written) and the submissions he has received, with greater care, he will then go back to consider the effect the witnesses made on him when they gave evidence about the matters that are now troubling him. At a distance of 20 months, Harman J denied himself the opportunity of making this further check in any meaningful way.’
Peter Gibson, Brooke, Mummery LJJ
Times 19-Feb-1998, Gazette 25-Mar-1998,  EWCA Civ 245,  TLR 85
England and Wales
Appeal from – Goose v Wilson Sandford and Co (A Firm) and Another ChD 10-May-1994
A court can turn down, and refuse to hear or accept claims, which were similar to a previous, statute barred, deceit claim. . .
Cited – Cobham v Frett PC 18-Dec-2000
(British Virgin Islands) Two issues arose. First, what was the consequence of inordinate delay between a judge hearing a case and giving his decision, and secondly, how was the law of adverse possession to be applied in cases of interrupted or . .
Cited – Boodhoo, Jagram, (suing on behalf of themselves and the Sanatan Dharma Sudhar Sadha) v The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago PC 1-Apr-2004
PC (Trinidad and Tobago) The complainant said that his constitutional rights had been infringed by the court’s delay. Proceedings had begun in 1987 for redress with regard to a land dispute. There was substantial . .
Cited – Aaron v The Law Society (the Office of the Supervision of Solicitors) QBD 13-Oct-2003
The appellant challenged an order suspending him from practice as a solicitor for two years. He had previous findings of professional misconduct in failing to pay counsels’ fees. In the course of later disciplinary proceedings he was found to have . .
Cited – Campbell v Hamlet (as executrix of Simon Alexander) PC 25-Apr-2005
(Trinidad and Tobago) The appellant was an attorney. A complaint was made that he had been given money to buy land, but neither had the land been conveyed nor the money returned. The complaint began in 1988, but final speeches were not heard until . .
See Also – Rex Goose v Wilson Sandford and Co (a Firm) (No 2) CA 14-Mar-2000
See Also – Gardiner Fire Ltd v Jones Thd Manufacturing Ltd (Third Party) CA 20-Oct-1998
A delay of 22 months between a hearing and the handing down of a judgment is quite intolerable. Judges creating such delays will in future be liable to such steps as could properly be taken by those in authority over them. Mechanisms had been put in . .
Cited – Wilson v Dunbar Bank Plc SCS 26-Mar-2008
Cited – Bond v Dunster Properties Ltd and Others CA 21-Apr-2011
The defendant appealed against the judge’s findings as to fact delivered some 22 months after the hearing.
Held: The appeal failed. Though such a delay must require the court carefully to investigate the judgment, it did not of itself . .
Cited – Nuttal and Another v Kerr and Another QBD 25-Jul-2019
The defendant sought to appeal from a judgment given only after a long delay.
Held: Permission to appeal was necessary, and given, but the appeal itself failed: ‘(1) There is no evidence of fault of the Judge at any or any material point other . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 06 August 2022; Ref: scu.143723