Ministry of Defence, ex parte Murray [1998] COD 134 (QBD)

Giving reasons for decisions

A decision by a court martial was quashed for the absence of any reasons having been given. The court said that although the law did not recognise a general duty to give reasons

the courts would ensure that statutory decisions affecting individuals followed prescribed procedure and would supply additional procedural standards to ensure that fairness is attained

where reasons were not given, a challenge had to show that the procedure was unfair;

the carrying out of a judicial function by a tribunal additionally favoured the requirement of reasons, particularly where personal liberty was involved; and

if justice could not be achieved in the absence of reasons, then they should be given.

Giving reasons had the benefit of concentrating the mind of the decision-maker and of showing how issues had been conscientiously considered.

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