Performance of the Courts of Appeal

Fiscal Year 2015 - 2016

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GOAL 2: TO PROMOTE THE RULE OF LAW


Objective

2.2 To ensure that decisions of the courts of appeal are clear and the form of the opinion is controlled by Rule 2-16, Uniform Rules, Courts of Appeal.

Intent of the Objective

Clarity is essential in all appellate decisions. Clear judicial reasoning facilitates the resolution of unsettled issues, the reconciliation of conflicting determinations by lower tribunals, and the interpretation of new laws. An appellate court should issue a written opinion when it completely adjudicates the controversy before it. Ending the controversy necessarily requires that a court address and resolve the dispositive issues of the case. Understanding of the resolution of the dispositive issues is enhanced when the court explains the reasoning that supports its decision. At a minimum, the parties to the case and others interested in the area of law in question expect and are due an explicit rationale for the court’s decision. Thus, written opinions should set forth the dispositive issues, the holding, and the reasoning that supports the holding. The length of an opinion does not necessarily determine its clarity. Clarity in an opinion is manifested when the court has conveyed its decision in an understandable fashion and when its directions to the lower tribunal are plain when the court remands a case for further proceedings. By applying the criteria set out in Uniform Rule 2-16, the judges of the Courts of Appeal select the form of decision – a full opinion, a concise memorandum opinion, or a summary disposition - that best satisfies the need for clarity in a particular case.

Responses To Objective

  1. Actions taken during FY 2015-2016 to ensure that the decision of the courts of appeal were clear and the form of the opinion was controlled by Rule 2-16 of the Uniform Rules.

QuestionIdQuestionStatementResponse
1010682516What actions, if any, did your court take during the reporting period to ensure that the decision of the courts of appeal were clear and the form of the opinion was controlled by Rule 2-16 of the Uniform Rules?Actions taken during FY 2015-2016 to ensure that the decision of the courts of appeal were clear and the form of the opinion was controlled by Rule 2-16 of the Uniform Rules.
(Hover on the chart for more information and click on the chart to see which courts chose that response.)
Actions taken during FY 2015-2016 to ensure that the decision of the courts of appeal were clear and the form of the opinion was controlled by Rule 2-16 of the Uniform Rules.
Additional actions taken by the courts to address this objective
1st Circuit
Court and key staff members of the First Circuit attended CLE coursework offered by the Louisiana Judicial College to improve legal writing skills.
2nd Circuit
Clarity of decisions and the conformity of opinions was achieved in the Second Circuit through a formal opinion circulation process, exchange of editorial comments, and review for compliance to Rule 2-16.
3rd Circuit
The Third Circuit continued to update the citation handbook to ensure that the citations and form of opinions were uniform. The court continued to follow the publication guidelines established by Rule 2-16, Uniform Rules Court of Appeal.
ResponseResponse_Court
Additional actions taken by the courts to address this objective3 courts (1st Circuit, 2nd Circuit, 3rd Circuit)
Continued to address this objective through the actions indicated below, or implemented the following new actions to address this objective as indicated below:5 courts (1st Circuit, 2nd Circuit, 3rd Circuit, 4th Circuit, 5th Circuit)
Developed or implemented a new rule outlining the appropriate use of full opinions, memorandum opinions, and per curiam opinions3 courts (1st Circuit, 3rd Circuit, 5th Circuit)
Did not address this objective 0
Encouraged or sponsored programs enabling judges and attorneys to improve their legal writing skills3 courts (1st Circuit, 3rd Circuit, 4th Circuit)
Established standard terminology for reporting summary and dispositive language used in the court2 courts (3rd Circuit, 5th Circuit)
Instituted or maintained special procedures to verify the accuracy of opinions in terms of substance, grammar, and citations4 courts (1st Circuit, 3rd Circuit, 4th Circuit, 5th Circuit)

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