Judges make living contribution to the growth and development of law and jurisprudence. Judges speak and apply their judicial mind through their judgements. A judgement is the end product of the proceedings in the Court. For most judges, drafting judgements is the most demanding, challenging and even stressful part of judicial life. Paradoxically, it can also be the most creative and rewarding. Writing of a good judgement is both an art and craft. It’s a skill that can be learned, practiced, improved and refined.
A judgement is not written for the benefit of the parties alone. It is also written for benefit of legal profession, other judges and appellate Courts. The losing party is the primary focus of concern. The winner is not much interested in the reasons for success, as he is convinced of the righteousness of the cause. The loser, however, in the litigation is entitled to have a candid explanation of the logical reasons for the decision.
The quantity of the judgement does not make the judgement outstanding. Good judgements enhance the prestige of the judge and eventually the Judiciary. Therefore, there is a need for the judges to make a constant and continuous effort to render good judgements. The judgement must be designed and structured so that readers find their way through it easily and quickly. The best judgement is one that is just and can be easily understood by everyone. However, the style of judicial writing is constantly changing and to keep abreast with the changing needs of the society is imperative.
In our context, the bench clerks draft the judgements and then are submitted to the judges for editing. Many of our bench clerks may not have been taught beyond what is there in CCPC 2001. The judges are empowered to sit on cases and deliver judgment fairly. However, the working arms of the Courts lie with the bench clerks who are often tasked with the responsibility to facilitate adjudication and judicial process. It is paramount that the engines of the justice system are equipped with tools and skills to draft judgement in a professional and systematic manner. Recognizing the need for uniform practice and quality judgements, the Institute is conducting a three-day virtual training on judgment drafting for the 25 bench clerks from Paro, Thimphu, Haa, Punakha, Wangdue, Chukha, Tsirang, Gasa, Zhemgang and Sangbaykha Courts starting today.
The training is aimed at equipping the bench clerks with skills for drafting judgements and to redesign and restructure a judgment format that is concise, lucid and clear to the readers. The training is supported by RGoB funding with technical support from the Supreme Court.