Thursday, April 22, 2010

Federal Judges Unhappy About Wikipedia Evidence in Immigration Cases

According to an article in The Globe and Mail (Judges rap Wiki-evidence in immigration cases, April 21, 2010), Federal Court judges have had some harsh words for government lawyers' use of Wikipedia in deportation cases.

A Canadian government spokesperson is quoted as saying that the online encyclopedia that can be edited by anyone is "specifically discouraged as a reference in decision making, unless it is supported by information from a credible, reliable source".

The article explains the controversy:
"To be fair, no one article ever seems to have emerged as the linchpin in any government case, and most citations are peripheral. Defence lawyers also have been known to marshal Wikipedia entries to poke holes in Crown cases."

"But this is a slippery slope, especially in cases centring on asylum or deportation, which often amount to life-and-death matters."

"The earliest known case arose in 2006, when Federal Court Judge Luc Martineau reprimanded a federal agent for 'capricious findings' in denying refugee status to a Palestinian. The agent’s transgressions included use of Wikipedia to research the Israeli army’s practice of razing houses. Finding a 'breach of the duty of fairness,' the judge ordered a new hearing."

"Wikipedia has surfaced at least a dozen times in Federal Court, according to its online database. Yet this is just the tip of the information iceberg"
Earlier Library Boy posts about the accuracy of Wikipedia include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:15 pm


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