In his 8 October speech entitled ‘Dissenting Judgments – Self Indulgence or Self Sacrifice’, Lord justice Kerr of the UK Supreme Court poses this interesting question: “Should the possible future utility of a dissent encourage, or should the apparent futility of a dissent deter an expression of disagreement with the majority? And should the circumstance that the dissent is to be expressed in a final court of appeal make a difference?”
Are dissents in courts of final appeal “poignant judicial tragedies” offensive to conventions of certainty and unanimity, as some commentators have said?
Do they weaken the effect of the opinion of the majority and undermine confidence in it?
Should dissent, in particular kinds of cases, be discouraged?
These are the kinds of questions that are addressed in the speech. His Lordship concludes, in part,”certainty or finality in the law is an overrated concept.”
You can read the speech here.