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  • Local Court decisions are appealable to the Supreme Court on the basis of failure to provide adequate reasons
  • For reasons to be adequate they must address the central controversies in the case
  • Brief reasons are not necessarily inadequate

With its jurisdictional limit now sitting at $100,000, the Local Court of NSW provides an important means of civil redress in this state.

Yet magistrates preside in an environment of increasingly busy courts in which cases are disposed of as expeditiously as fairness permits. The result is a higher number of ex tempore judgments and at least some degree of truncation of the magistrate’s reasons. This, of course, is normally more concerning to the unsuccessful party.

The recent decision of Tan v Silverdale Sand and Soil Pty Ltd [2014] NSWSC 391 provides a useful guide as to whether a perceived paucity of reasons becomes appealable or not. What emerges is that a set of adequate reasons is not entirely dissimilar to the well-established method for writing a successful law exam: facts, issues, law and conclusion.

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