Dalhousie Law Journal


Computer retrieval, the Line, proliferation, useless materials, computers, presentations, Court


The Master of the Rolls in England, Sir John Donaldson, said recently that he feared the use of a proliferation of useless materials from computers in presentations before the Court. He was probably echoing what Lord Diplock had to say for the House of Lords in Roberts Petroleum Ltd. v. Bernard Kenny Ltd. (in liquidation).1 In a lengthy per curiam speech, Lord Diplock in that case commented on the use sought to be made in the House of Lords and the Court of Appeal of previous unreported Court of Appeal judgments. The transcripts of shorthand notes of oral judgments rendered by judges of the Court of Appeal have been preserved in library space since 1951 and, since 1980, are included in a computerized data base available to practitioners. Lord Diplock strongly urged that the practice of citing such judgments should be discouraged. In this he was supported unanimously by his brethren.

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