Writing Court Orders

The comments of a bankruptcy judge regarding the problems with lawyers who write out orders have been making the rounds for a while. Judge Kressel identified a list of Do’s and Don’ts for attorneys. Attached is that list along with the judge’s additional comments which were recently published in the Illinois State Bar Association’s Bench and Bar Section Council Newsletter:

Judge Kressel on Writing Orders

I am generally in favor of simplifying the language of court orders but Illinois courts do not always make it easy to do. The most prominent example of this are the “magic words” which must be placed in any order entered pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 304 (“…there is no just cause or reason to delay the appeal or enforcement ….”). Also, there is case law suggesting certain magic words must be used when a case is dismissed pursuant to settlement in order to permit the court to retain jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement.

Additionally, some judges like the use of old style legal jargon. In the end, a court order is the judge’s order so we must do what he/she wants. For me, Judge Kressel’s comments are common sense directions.

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