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Court of Appeal lambasts judge for taking four days to read a judgment
21 April 2017
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A Sydney judge has been scolded by the Court of Appeal for taking 17 hours to read out his judgment.

Judge Garry Neilson was presiding over a case involving a claimant who was thrown from his horse which reared up when a car went past. Neilson delivered his verbose judgment of 138 pages over four days, at the end of which he eventually awarded AUS$340,000 to the claimant.

Neilson's decision was overturned at the Court of Appeal where Justice Ruth McColl also took the opportunity to rebuke the wordy judge saying there was no explanation as to why he "delivered a judgment of such length."  McColl went on to query why Nielson chose to read his verdict aloud rather than handing down written reasons which is "customary with a judgment of such length". She added that it had imposed a significant cost burden on the parties.
  "No, not the Nielson judgment, please..."  

Justice Mark Leeming concurred and also noted that there was a public cost "in that a courtroom and court officers and court reporters are made unavailable for the hearing of other cases". He also said that this "appears not be an isolated case" as Neilson had also delivered oral judgments over three or four days in other cases in 2015.


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