Understanding reasons for judgment: Aphorisms for the 1L

The list will appear when you expand the message. Feel free to suggest more. I’ll update the list with the better suggestions.

1.  Always remember who the big pecker is.

“Any legal system which has a judicial appeals process inherently creates a pecking order for the judiciary regarding where judicial decisions stand on the legal ladder.  … The judicial pecking order does not permit little peckers to overrule big peckers. It is the other way around.”

South Side Woodwork v. R.C. Contracting, 95 AR 161, 1989 CanLII 3384 (AB QB, Master) at paras. 51-53.

2.  It’s all about power.

  “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There, (1871) c. 6

3.  Law’s logic is law’s logic, which may not be logical at all.

“[A] case is only an authority for what it actually decides. I entirely deny that it can be quoted for a proposition that may seem to follow logically from it. Such a mode of reasoning assumes that the law is necessarily a logical code, whereas every lawyer must acknowledge that the law is not always logical at all.”

Quinn v. Leathem, [1901] A.C. 495 at 506, [1901] UKHL 2 (H.L.).

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