January 30, 2006

Do you trust Wiki to tell the truth?

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:02 pm by thelawthoughts

I find this post at Internetcases.com fascinating.

Evan Brown points to a number of cases in the US in which Wikipedia has been used to fill in background details. In the inevitable push online and into open source, it seems the wisdom of the crowds may eventually prevail for FACTUAL information in court cases. So, when we come up against a question such as ‘where is the Sea of Okhotsk and what happens in it’, we may end up just turning to Wiki and letting the crowd do the thinking.

What if Wiki is wrong?

This area of legal practice has always fascinated me. We, as lawyers, are generally crap at things like science, or medicine, or computer technology. Not always, mind you, but often. Given how much of law is bound up in science (think patents and DNA in criminal law), medicine (think accident compensation) or computer technology (just about everything) we are forced to take the word of the person in the dock as ‘truth’. If the nice man with the beard says it must have been the defendant at the scene of the crime, who is Your Honour to judge?

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