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Court Decisions Need to be Reasoned

Posted on September 27, 2020 at 1:30 AM

Court decisions need to contain reasons why the Court arrived to such a decision.  This applies not only to judgements but also to decrees.  If a decision does not contain any reasons, then, this gives rise to a breach of one's human rights.  Why is this so?  Because, if a decisions does not contain any reasons, then one's right to contest the judgement or decree is being effectively hampered or denied. 


One might ask, if the Court decided against or in favour a request, without providing any reasons or adequate reasons, found in an application or sworn application, isn't that enough to proceed forward to contest it?  The answer is no.  And, why is that?  Because to be able to effectively contest the said decision, one needs to know why the Court decided to refuse or uphold the request found in the application or sworn application.  There might be a multitude of reasons and the absence of such in the decision leads to a lack of a fair hearing. 


Indeed, having a reasoned decision does not only guarantee a fair hearing but is a basic principle of natural justice (Chauhan, V. (1995). REASONED DECISION : A PRINCIPLE OF NATURAL JUSTICE. Journal of the Indian Law Institute, 37(1), 92-104).  If one looks at local case-law, one finds that at times there were cases where a reasoned decision was not given.  This is common, in applications which are filed in the Family Court, as quite a large volume of applications are filed on a daily basis as opposed to the Civil Court.  However, this does not mean that the parties should not be given a reasoned decision.  This resulted in cases being put forward in front of the Civil Court (Constitutional Jurisdiction), a court tasked to examine human rights breaches.  In the case Nadia Vella et vs. Avukat Ġenerali et (Const. App. No 62/2016JZM) decided on 30 May 2019, the Civil Court (Consitutional Jurisdiction) observed that, all Court decisions, more so where minor children are invovled, must be explained in the best posible manner, with such explanation being the result of a careful analysis of the evidence at hand.  


Therefore, having a reasoned decision is imperative to maintain a fair hearing where both parties can clearly know the reasons why the Court arrived to such a decision and therefore be in a position to contest it, if needs be. 



Article written by Dr Ann Marie Mangion.

Categories: Fair Hearing, Human Rights

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As from 20 September 2020 Mangion Legal will be publishing weekly Sunday articles on various legal aspects.

As from 8 June 2020 the office has reopened from its temporary closure due to COVID-19 and has resumed physical meetings whilst implementing safety and sanitization measures. Anyone coming into the office must be wearing a mask/visor.

As from 13 March 2020 the office is temporarily closed due to COVID-19 and this in an attempt to limit the spreading of the virus. However, the office will still assist clients remotely via SKYPE or Whatsapp Video calls.

As from 16 March 2020, the Maltese Law Courts have closed until further notice due to COVID-19. All legal time-limits have been temporarily suspended.

On 20 June 2019, Dr Mangion participated in the Council of Europe exercise on Child Participation, namely the Child Participation Tool held by the Ministry for the Family, Children's Rights and Social Security in collaboration with the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society.

On 1 October 2018, Lisa Micallef joined the office as a legal trainee.

On 17 January 2018, Dr Mangion attended the inauguration of the Judicial Year of the Ecclesiastical Tribunals of the Maltese Province at the Archbishop's Palace.

On 13 January 2018, Dr Mangion was a guest speaker on Radio 101's 'Ghazliet' discussing sexual harassment.

On 11 January 2018, Dr Mangion attended a public lecture on gender quotas in Ireland held by Dr Fiona Buckley of the University of Cork, organised by the Faculty of Social Wellbeing, at the University of Malta.

On 13 October 2017, Dr Mangion was a guest speaker on FLiving TV, 'Attwali' discussing criminal responsibility amongst minors.

On 4-8 October 2017, Dr Mangion went to a FAIR Project training session on immigrant children's rights access to justice organised by the ICJ at Ferney-Voltaire/Geneva.

On 15 September 2017 Dr Mangion attended Dontilla Mukamana's speech on genocidal rape in Rwanda as part of the Festival of Research 2017 held at the University of Leicester.

On 6 September 2017 Dr Mangion's paper on confidentiality and treatment of young people was published in Kevin Aquilina, Peter Mallia and Bridgit Ellul (eds), Contemporary  Issues in Medical Law  & Ethics: Conference Proceedings 2012-2015 (University of Malta 2017).

On 19 August 2017 Dr Mangion was a guest speaker on Radio 101's 'Ghazliet' discussing juvenile crime.

On 9 April 2017 Dr Mangion was invited as a guest speaker on Radio 101's 'Ghazliet' discussing the family.

On 16-17 February 2017 Dr Mangion attended a two-day training session: "Fostering Access to Immigrant Children's Rights (FAIR) Project organised by Aditus and the International Commission of Jurists.

On 24 December 2016 Dr Mangion along with Johanna Cauchi held the last radio programme from the long-running programme, Il-Ligi u l-Familja on Radio RTK (103 FM).

On 1 October 2016 Dr Mangion was asked to make an intervention on the legal implications of gay parenting on Radio 101's radio programme Ghazliet.

On 5 September 2016 Dr Mangion was invited on Campus FM's radio programme Ghazliet to discuss children's rights.

On 11 June 2016 Dr Mangion was asked to give her opinion on children's views in court during the radio programme Ghandi xi Nghid.

On 21 April 2016 Dr Mangion was invited on TVM's Skjetti alongside Pauline Miceli, the Commissioner of Children and Claire Agius Ordway to discuss children's rights.

On 7 March 2016 Dr Mangion attended a lecture organised by the Chamber of Advocates on Act IV of 2016 - an act to amend law relating to justice reform in the sphere of civil procedure.

On 8 February 2016 Dr Mangion started a course entitled Forensic Science and Criminal Justice as part of her CPD.

On 3 February 2016 Dr Mangion attended a seminar on annulment procedural reforms organized by the Chamber of Advocates.

Articles

Dr Mangion has published a paper entitled, 'Confidentiality and Treatment of Young People: Proposals for Amendment 1' in Kevin Aquilina, Peter Mallia and Bridgit Ellul (eds), Contemporary Issues in Medical Law & Ethics: Conference Proceedings 2012-2015 (University of Malta 2017).

Dr Mangion has publshed the following paper, 'Confidentiality and Treatment of Young Adults. Proposals for Amendments: the Gillick Proposition' in the Journal of the Malta College of Family Doctors, (Vol. 4, Issue 1, May 2015)

Hamid Reza Salehi and Ann Marie Mangion have published an article called, Legal Aspects of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Science. (Int J Adv Stu Hum Soci Scie. 2014; 2(2):111-115)

Ann Marie Mangion, 'Young Adults Should Have a Say', The Times (Valletta, 5 April 2013)

Radio & TV

Discussing sexual harassment on Radio 101's 'Ghazliet' discussing sexual harassment (13 January 2018 - live).

Discussing criminal responsibility amongst minors on FLiving TV, 'Attwali' (13 October 2017 - live).

Discussing the family of Radio 101's Ghazliet (9 April 2017 - live).

Discussing children's rights on Campus FM's radio programme Ghazliet (5 September 2016 - recorded).

Asked to give her opinion on children's views in court during the radio programme Ghandi xi Nghid (11 June 2016 - live).

Discussing children's rights on TVM's Skjetti (21 April 2016 - recorded).


Seminars & Conferences

Dr Mangion attended a public lecture on gender quotas in Ireland held by Dr Fiona Buckley of the University of Cork, organised by the Faculty of Social Wellbeing, at the University of Malta (11 January 2018).

Dr Mangion went to a FAIR Project training session on immigrant children's rights access to justice organised by the ICJ at Ferney-Voltaire/Geneva (4-8 October 2017).

Dr Mangion attended Dontilla Mukamana's speech on genocidal rape in Rwanda as part of the Festival of Research 2017 held at the University of Leicester (15 September 2017).

Dr Mangion attended a two-day training session: "Fostering Access to Immigrant Children's Rights (FAIR) Project organised by Aditus and the International Commission of Jurists (16-17 February 2017).

Dr Mangion gave a talk on Matrimonial Regimes to post-Cana group (4 December 2016).

Dr Mangion gave a talk on Consent, Confidentiality and Disclosure at the Maltese Curia (23 June 2016).

Dr Mangion attended a lecture organised by the Chamber of Advocates on Act IV of 2016 - an act to amend law relating to justice reform in the sphere of civil procedure (7 March 2016).

Dr Mangion attended a seminar on annulment procedural reforms organized by the Chamber of Advocate (3 February 2016).