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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 81472 Find in a Library
Title: Functions and Importance of Appellate Oral Argument - Some Views of Lawyers and Federal Judges
Journal: Judicature  Volume:65  Issue:7  Dated:(February 1982)  Pages:340-353
Author(s): S L Wasby
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 14
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on interviews with circuit and district judges in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and with attorneys who had argued before that court, the pros and cons of appellate oral argument are examined.
Abstract: Both circuit and district judges and lawyers in the Ninth Circuit were almost unanimous in finding appellate oral argument helpful. The judges and attorneys differed, however, on the emphasis each group placed on ways that appellate argument helped. Judges tended to find that oral argument helped them clarify matters and focus on important issues, with the opportunity to communicate with lawyers and ask questions only slightly less important. Judges also suggested that oral argument provided information and aided in disposing of cases. Least frequently noted was argument's assistance in increasing the visibility of the court. For attorneys, clarification and an opportunity for communication with judges were mentioned more than other functions of argument, with neither function predominant. Attorneys gave far less attention to providing information, assisting in disposition of cases, giving judges an opportunity to ask questions, and helping to save judges' time. All but a few of the judges emphasized that appellate oral argument helped most in Government regulation cases, particularly those involving new statutes or new administrative agencies. The lawyers primarily found appellate argument most helpful when cases were complex or novel. Judges tended to find argument least helpful in cases where the circuit had controlling precedent. The lawyers also suggested that srgument was least helpful in cases where briefs were short and the issue simple. While substantial appellate caseloads have produced a tendency to favor oral arguments only in cases where they are helpful, there is apparently no danger that oral argument will be extinguished as a significant part of appellate practice. A total of 62 footnotes are listed.
Index Term(s): Appeal procedures; Appellate courts; Attitudes; Attorneys; Judges
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