Every court must give reasons for its decisions. The court has to explain why, on what facts and on which laws it has taken these decisions.

This requirement refers to both the final judgment and various decisions during the proceedings. It is a guarantee that the court’s decision has not been taken arbitrarily and that the parties have been heard in the decision-making process. 

The length and detail of the court’s reasoning depends on:

  • the type of decision it is
  • how important it is in the trial
  • the kind of issues which are discussed in it

example A final judgement ordering the payment of damages to the other party must contain sufficient reasoning; however, a decision to extend procedural time limits can be much less detailed. 

Sufficient reasoning

A decision must contain sufficient reasoning, even if the court does not agree with your position. On the other hand, the obligation to give reasons does not mean that every argument you have made in your submission has to be discussed in detail or even mentioned in the decision. However, if an argument which you have raised could be decisive to the outcome of the case, the court must consider this in its decision. 


The obligation to give a reasoned decision does not apply to every single decision taken by the court. However, it applies to all judgments and decisions that affect your human rights. When the court takes a simple decision based on a point of law, the judge is not required to provide detailed reasoning.

example A decision to restrict a person’s legal capacity must be well reasoned. But a decision to reject certain documents because a party has missed the deadline for their submission would not require much further explanation.


Last updated 05/05/2019