Lachance on Internet dissemination of court decisions and Stare decisis

Colin Lachance, Esq., of CanLII has an interesting new post discussing how Internet dissemination of court decisions is increasing the influence of those decisions, and may have implications for the doctrine of Stare decisis: Disrupting Stare Decisis – a.k.a. I can has internets? Slaw.ca.

Here is an excerpt:

Throughout the internet age, and across multiple domains, we have seen many examples of disruptions to longstanding traditions and to once commonly-held beliefs of propriety. Can Stare Decisis withstand the onslaught of internet memes and widespread sharing of legal information?

The question comes to mind as I watch the growing awareness and discussion surrounding the January 2013 decision of R. v. McKay of the Provincial Court of Alberta in which the judge found that a 19 year old accused had been deprived of a reasonable opportunity to retain counsel because the police provided a phone and phonebook, but not the means to Google for help.

In less than 2 weeks, the decision accumulated over 1200 page views and the pace is increasing. To put the number in context, in 2012 it took a full 12 months for the combined page view count of the 2 most viewed decisions of the Provincial Court of Alberta to generate a roughly equivalent tally.

Lower court decisions matter a great deal – to the affected litigants – but rarely do they ripple through their home province, much less the country and beyond. […]

For more details, please see the complete post.

HT @wiselaw

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