Thanks to John Swan , for a lead to a mindboggling comment made by Grant Campbell J. (London, Family Court) regarding the proper way (from a costs perspective) of doing legal research. In Biggin v. Maloney
In reviewing a bill for legal services submitted in respect of an order for costs in Biggin v. Maloney, Grant Campbell J. of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice observed:
“Although some case-law research was necessary, and although Mr.Hopkins did indeed produce several relevant and persuasive cases… I cannot understand how Mr.Hopkins could invest 10 1⁄2 hours obtaining and reading the essence of those cases. Surely in this electronic age, Mr.Hopkins would perform the same task that I, or any other legally trained person, would and “click”the word “mobility”into the Quicklaw website. His computer would then have given him the relevant case-law.”
The context of the publicity suggests that this expresses a valid viewpoint. Had Mr. Hopkins done what the judge said he should have done, he would have obtained 2,048 hits. What does he do now? Had he even quickly skimmed those cases not only would he have incurred horrendous QL charges but it would have taken him many more hours than he charged to find the needle in that haystack.
If this is how trial judges think that research shoud be done, the standard of judgments and argument can only fall.
While I’m not surprised that my students sometimes have such touching (and misplaced faith) in the ability of computers to do legal research