A New Jersey state appeals court on Thursday had some critical words for a judge who said he routinely trims fee awards to discourage fee-shifting, calling that seat-of-the-pants policy “legally untenable.”

A judge “may not impose his or her own policy considerations to arbitrarily reduce a litigant’s otherwise legally justifiable application,” the Appellate Division said in remanding the case, In re Probate of the Alleged Will and Codicil of Louise Macool, A-4697-08/A-4734-08, for a fee re-calculation.

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