The ABA Journal noted yesterday that Justice Donald Lee of Court of Queen’s Bench compiled opinions on two related matters last year by precisely copying portions of briefs submitted in the matter. The Court of Appeals observed:

Every one of the paragraphs in the [Reasons for Judgment] was extracted essentially verbatim, from the chambers briefs…. There is no independent authorship. Even spelling mistakes in the briefs are faithfully carried forward.”

The Court of Appeals was unwilling to rule on the appeals in those issues based on the fact that Judge Lee had not actually laid out his reasoning for his conclusions.

Yet another reason to take seriously your reasoning and proper grammar and punctuation when drafting court filings—your words may become the judge’s opinion.

Read Appeals Court Calls Opinions Copied From Lawyers’ Briefs Mystery Rulings, Tells Judge to Try Again at ABA Journal.

(photo: Shutterstock: 81277078)

The Small Firm Scorecard example graphic.

The Small Firm ScorecardTM

Is your law firm structured to succeed in the future?

The practice of law is changing. You need to understand whether your firm is positioned for success in the coming years. Our free Small Firm Scorecard will identify your firm’s strengths and weaknesses in just a few minutes.

Leave a Reply