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Report No. 79

Chapter 10

Second Appeals

10.1. Second appeals-need for.-

The search for absolute truth in the administration of justice must, in the very nature of things, be put under some reasonable restraint. Such search has to be reconciled with the doctrine of finality. There must come, in the course of litigation, a stage when the decision rendered on a question of fact should become final and the matter should be allowed to rest where it lies, without further appeal on facts. At the same time, any rational system of law must provide for taking the cause to a specified superior court on a question of law-a superior court whose decision on the question of law will become binding on subordinate courts.

There should be one authoritative and final tribunal in various appellate matters, competent to give decisions which are recognised as binding all over the State and which keep alive what Lord Birkenhead so felicitously described as the 'immense unity of the law1. When a substantial question of law is in issue, the general interest of society in the predictability of the law clearly necessitates a system of appeals to the highest court of the State,2

1. Lord Birkenhead in (1927) 63 LJ 298 (304), "The Judicial Committee" (Lord Birkenhead's remarks from the Chair while presiding over a lecture by Professor J.H. Morgan).

2. E.g., para. 4.10, supra.

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