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Report No. 99

The Mechanics of Preparation of Judgments in U.S.A.

Whereas, in the U.K., the Law Lords produce highly individualised opinions which are circulated among their brother judges, the procedure adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court involves formalised judicial conferences and largely collective judgments. At these conferences, tentative conclusion are reached on the most recent cases and the task of writing the judgment of the court is assigned to a particular Associate Justice, or even to the Chief Justice himself: judgment already drafted and circulated will be formally approved for publication. Although a single judgment is prepared (the Justice concerned working in close collaboration with those of the brethren Judy's who share the majority opinion) it is open to any judge, or groups of Judges to prepare separate assenting or dissenting opinions and unanimous opinions are reached in only about 25 per cent. of the cases considered on their merits by the Court.1

1. Bloom Cooper and Drewry, Final Court of Appeal, (1972), p. 51.

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