A judge in the Supreme Court of British Columbia has had his $5-million judgment thrown out, apparently due to plagiarism.
Justice Joel Groves gave his ruling after an expensive 30-day trial about a brain-damaged baby. As the Vancouver Sun reports, it is “only” the fourth time in Canadian history a judge has substantially reproduced all of the submissions of a participating party in a lawsuit as reasons for judgment.
In terms of the stats, the ruling by Groves ran 368 paragraphs in length and contained, without acknowledgment, 321 paragraphs almost verbatim from the family’s lawyer’s submissions with inconsequential changes, such as replacing phrases like “it is submitted” with phrases such as “I have concluded”.
For more on this, see the Vancouver Sun story here.
While, yes, the workload on judges can be heavy and while there will naturally be some submissions that accurately reflect the approved reasoning, a salary of hundreds of thousands of pounds or, in this case, dollars does not warrant over-use of the copy and paste function.
Further, what kind of example is that for law students who could get kicked out of law school for plagiarising the work of others? Your own thoughts appreciated below.