Publication details

Matter of Style (of Judicial Decisions)



Year of publication 2015
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Law

Description This paper is focused on continuity and discontinuity of the judiciary profession in the Czech Republic. Main emphasis is laid on changes of style and rhetoric of judgements in the last 25 years. The hypothesis is that in some special cases judges are now becoming more open to extra-legal arguments as well as to more audience-friendly style of justification of their decisions. In order to demonstrate this shift, one contemporary issue is chosen - official view on personal continuity in judiciary profession. As a perfect example, one particular judicial decision is analysed. Judgement of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic, I. ÚS 517/10, decided on 15. 11. 2010, stated that information about the membership of judges in the Communist Party (at the moment of the Velvet Revolution) has to be available for public. This judgment has extraordinarily long reasoning including various types of arguments and some of them are very unusual in the Czech context. Moreover, it is written in a very specific way which can be labelled as “essayistic” or “literary”. In my paper I will analyse unusual types of arguments used in this decision in order to find a rule used by the Constitutional Court as a justification for such a specific style of legal writing. I will use Perelman’s New Rhetoric, MacCormick’s understanding of consequentialist argumentation and Law and Literature theory as a basis for discussion about relationship between style and content of the judicial decision in the contemporary Czech context.

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