Regulars in the EAT will be all too familiar with 'reasons' appeals, where it is argued that a tribunal failed to give a sufficient explanation of why they reached their conclusions - hence making it impossible to see whether they fell into an error of law.
The seminal case on this is English v Emery Reimbold (2002, CA). The Court of Appeal has now heard another case, which it describes as 'following on' from English.
In McLoughlin v Jones, the Court of Appeal had to decide on the impact on the decision if one of several reasons given by a judge turns out to be wrong.
Arden LJ, giving the leading judgment, robustly emphasises the reluctance of an appellate court to interfere with the decision below. Her judgment is lengthy, involving a trawl through findings of fact (in a professional negligence case).
The core paragraphs are paras. 72 and 74. The Court holds that a first instance decision should not be overturned where the "overriding reason for rejecting the claim remains" - notwithstanding the presence of four errors in the court's decision.
Arden LJ continues to say (para. 74), "It is necessary, in my judgment, to look at the imperfections in the judgment as a whole, cumulatively. Even so, they are not in my judgment to shake the foundations on which the judgment was based".
'Shaking the foundations of the judgment' - a pretty high test? Certainly one which, if followed by the EAT, will result in far fewer 'reasons' appeals succeeding (or being allowed through the sift).
McLoughlin v Jones
Tuesday, 15 August 2006
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