The Fish Canneries Reference

October 7, 2004

Researching decided cases is one of the great pleasures of practising law. I do not mean sitting behind a computer screen punching in key words. I mean pulling down a volume of law reports, blowing off the dust, guarding cuffs and lapels against disintegrating leather bindings, turning up the page with the sought-after case, taking time to see who the judges and counsel were, looking to the marginal notes to see when the case was cited, apld, consd, folld, qtd, aprvd, discd, distgd and ref’d to, then settling in to read every word of the headnote, argument if included, and the judgment; then, resisting the temptation to read the following and preceding cases, looking up the cites for the lower court decisions and finding and savouring them in the same way.

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