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Practice Guidance (Remote hand-down of Judgments) in the Court of Appeal (Civil Division)

The Rt. Hon. SIR GEOFFREY VOS

Practice Guidance (remote hand-down of judgments)

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, reserved judgments of the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal have in most cases been handed down remotely in accordance with a “Covid Protocol”. The procedure worked well, and I have decided that it should be retained in most cases notwithstanding that the Court has resumed routine sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice. The practice from now on will be as follows:

1. Unless otherwise directed, reserved judgments of the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) will be handed down remotely, in accordance with the procedure at paragraphs 2-4 below.

2. Notice of hand-down of reserved judgments will be given in the published daily cause list, as follows:

Until April 2022

“Remote hand-down: This judgment will be handed down remotely by circulation to the parties or their representatives by email and release to BAILII and the National Archives. A copy of the judgment in final form as handed down should be available on BAILII shortly thereafter but can otherwise be obtained on request by email to the Judicial Office (press.enquiries@judiciary.uk).”

From April 2022

“Remote hand-down: This judgment will be handed down remotely by circulation to the parties or their representatives by email and release to the National Archives. A copy of the judgment in final form as handed down should be available on the National Archives website shortly thereafter but can otherwise be obtained on request by email to the Judicial Office (press.enquiries@judiciary.uk).”

3. At the published date and time the judgment will be sent by e-mail by the clerk to the Lord/Lady Justice responsible for hand-down to the parties or their representatives, under cover of letter in the following terms:
“In accordance with the Practice Guidance dated 16 December 2021, I attach the judgment in this case by way of hand-down, which will be deemed to have occurred at [Listed Time and Date].”

4. At the same time a copy will be sent to the National Archives and, until April 2022, to BAILII.

5. The final/approved version of the judgment will have this wording on the front page:

Until April 2022

“Remote hand-down: This judgment was handed down remotely at [time] on [date] by circulation to the parties or their representatives by email and by release to BAILII and the National Archives.”

From April 2022

“Remote hand-down: This judgment was handed down remotely at [time] on [date] by circulation to the parties or their representatives by email and by release to the National Archives.”

6. If the Court decides that judgment should be handed down in open Court rather than remotely, the cause list will so indicate; and the parties or their representatives will be informed by the clerk to the presiding Lord/Lady Justice whether or not their attendance is required and of any matters on which their submissions may be required.

7. This guidance affects only the mode of hand-down. It does not affect anything in Practice Direction 40E.

The Master of the Rolls
16 December 2021

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