By LordDenning QB
When a case is assigned to a panel of judges, the rule of the thumb is that there is an odd (as opposed to an even) number of judges.
The rationale behind is that there shouldn’t be a draw of opinion. Let me briefly demonstrate this point: If a panel of judges would constitute 4 judges (even number), there is a possibility that 2 can find for the Petitioner(s) and the other 2 can find for the Defendant(s).
In that event, that is a draw and it would mean no party has won or lost. The consequence would be resumption of the entire trial process perhaps using another panel of judges.
On the other hand, when an odd (uneven) number of judges is involved, for example 3, 5 or 7 etc., there will always be a majority if two different conclusions are arrived at.
This was conceived design that purports to avoid the draw game situation.
In the present elections case, there are 5 judges who were assigned for the task. Each of these judges was to make their independent opinion towards the ruling. The following could be the possibilities:
1). One (1) judge on one hand and four (4) judges on the other hand having two dissenting opinions. Thus EITHER 1 judge finding for the Petitioners and the 4 finding for the Defendants OR vice versa. The side with 4 Judges carries the day and this is called Majority Decision.
2). EITHER two (2) judges on one hand finding for the Petitioners and three (3) judges on the other hand finding for the Defendants OR vice versa. The side with 3 judges carries the day and this is called Majority Decision.
3). EITHER all the five (5) judges finding for the Petitioners OR vice versa. This is called a Unanimous Decision.
What has been the decision in the current case?
It is a Unanimous Decision. All the Five judges have found for the Petitioners. This means there is no dissenting opinion that found for the Defendants’ case.
What’s the impact of such unanimous decision?
The impact is that any appeal that arises from such a decision has zero chances of raising real issues that would bring it victory at the appeal court. In fact, it means that for the Defendants to make such an appeal they will have to be brave. If not for this, then their appeal would simply be an exercise of buying time.
The Decision to be announced is UNANIMOUS.
………………Views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of the Publisher or the Editor of Maravi Post.