Practice Statement by The Lord Chief Justice
I am making this further statement with the agreement of Lord Woolf MR, Sir Richard Scott VC and Sir Stephen Brown P. Like the earlier statement I made on 22nd April 1998, this statement applies to judgments delivered in all divisions of the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
In my earlier statement I said that the arrangements I was announcing should be regarded as experimental, and that they would be kept under review. Experience since that time has shown that in general the new arrangements are working well, but that there is scope for some fine tuning. In particular, for a number of reasons it has not proved possible for the official shorthand writers to publish the official transcripts of approved, handed down, judgments quite as quickly as we had hoped, and there has been some uncertainty as to the status of the judgment given by the court to the shorthand writers.
We have decided to retain the embargo on copying the draft judgment which is sent to the parties two days before a judgment is handed down. An approved judgment, when handed down in court, will now be entitled "Judgment: Approved by the court for handing down (subject to editorial corrections)", and every page of a judgment which is handed down in this form will be marked in a similar manner. There will be no embargo on copying a judgment handed down in this form, so long as its status is made clear, and at present no charge will be made for permission to copy it.
In order to make it possible for approved judgments to be handed down in this way, the parties' legal advisers will be requested to submit their written list of suggested corrections by 12 noon, not 3pm, on the day before judgment is handed down. If it is not possible to comply with this deadline, any later corrections approved by the judge will be included in the final text which the official shorthand writer (or the judge's clerk, in courts which lack an official shorthand writer) will incorporate into the approved official text of the judgment as soon as practicable.
Where a reserved written judgment has not been reported, reference must still be made in court to the approved official transcript (if this is available) and not to the approved transcript which is handed down, since this may have been subject to late revision after the text was prepared for handing down.
We will continue to keep these experimental arrangements under review. Comments or suggestions about any aspect of the arrangements should once again be addressed to Lord Justice Brooke.
Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
25 November 1998