The High Court clarified that exceptional circumstances are not required to trigger the court's jurisdiction to hand down judgment after a case has settled. The test for determining whether or not a court should hand down its judgment is the same regardless of whether the case settles before or after circulation of the draft judgment, and whether the case is heard at first instance or on appeal. What is required is a balancing of the public interest considerations in favour of giving judgment against any arguments for not doing so.
Factors relevant to the exercise of the court's discretion include:
- whether the case involves a point of law of potential general interest;
- whether there are allegations of dishonesty or credibility that need to be exposed publicly;
- how far preparation of the judgment has got to by the time of settlement and the public interest in avoiding further expenditure of court time and resources;
- the wishes of the parties; and
- whether it was a condition of settlement that the judgment would not be handed down in the context of the desirability of encouraging settlement and finality in litigation.