When is a Decision Final or Interlocutory for the Purpose of Giving a Notice of Appeal Against it?

Abstract

When a court makes a judicial pronouncement in the course of proceedings which touches on the rights of the parties,the court is said to have rendered a decision. For the purpose of re-evaluation of that decision by way of appeal, different rules apply with respect to the time for exercising that right and whether the exercise of such a right requires the leave of court to do so or will be as of right.

For the reason that an error or a misconception as to whether a decision is final or interlocutory may have a devastating consequence on an appeal initiated against such a decision, it becomes pertinent that parties to an appeal and the court appreciate this dichotomy with clarity.

In this regard, such considerations as the nature of the pronouncement made or nature of the proceedings in which the order is made are kept in proper perspective. Case law authorities on the tests to apply in determining what amounts to an interlocutory or a final decision for the purpose of appeal, appear to be uncertain, as different tests have been applied to different cases.

The uncertainty stems not from what the tests are but from their application to given factual situations. It is this uncertainty in the application of these tests that this article reviews with a view to underscoring a workable test aimed at making the law more certain.

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Keywords: Decision, Interlocutory, Final, Test, Rights, Determination

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