Ex tempore (Latin for "out of the moment“) is a legal term that means 'at the time'. A judge who hands down a decision in a case soon or straight after hearing it is delivering a decision ex tempore. Another way a judge may deliver a decision is to reserve their decision and deliver it later in written form.[1] An ex tempore judgment, being off the cuff, does not entail the same preparation as a reserved decision. Consequently, it will not be thought out to the same degree.

In Australia, intermediate-level courts tend to have a heavy case load, and so many decisions are delivered ex tempore for reasons of time and necessity. Because many decisions are ex tempore, intermediate-level courts' decisions are not binding on inferior courts - that is to say, that in New South Wales, the District Court's decisions are not binding on the Local Court (see Valentine v Eid (1992) 27 NSWLR 615 and stare decisis).

Ex tempore decisions are not binding on later courts due to the quick nature of their delivery after the hearing of a case. Therefore, these decisions are of persuasive authority only and a later court, dealing with a case of similar facts, can reach a different conclusion if it is appropriate and the court in question believes that their decision is more suitable.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Zander, Michael (2004). The Law-Making Process. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-60989-0.