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Functus officio: No second kick at the can for judges

Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 8:54 AM | By Anna Wong

It is often said that litigants only get one kick at the can and cannot try again later with a better pair of boots. The doctrine of functus officio operates to effectively impose the same restraint on judges.

As a general rule, once a judge has rendered a final decision, she is barred from reopening, varying or retracting her decision. She cannot do so because, having pronounced judgment — provided that is no reservation of any kind in the judgment — the judge is said to...