Legislating, Decision-Making, Practice and Education
Edited by Mary Hiscock and William van Caenegem
Chapter 11: Internationalisation of Legal Research: Finding Facts and Finding Law Before the Next Big Crash
Patrick Quirk* I believe that the explosive growth of information is transforming the litigation system, and that the current paradigm is broken.1 INTRODUCTION Internationalisation is an inexact concept. In some contexts it implies overcoming regional differences, languages and cultures; it also points away from all that is local, restricted, or parochial. In traditional legal terms it raises issues of treaties, jurisdiction, non-obvious means of enforcement, layers of complexity and sui generis actors.2 It may also raise a few spectres such as chaotic uncertainty, lack of sovereignty, habitual and easy disobedience, institutional weakness, and disparate or unpredictable judicial methods.3 Lawyers operating in such waters have much to gain and lose from engaging in research, itself an imprecise concept. Those who teach legal research define it as: the process of identifying and retrieving information necessary to support legal decision-making. In its broadest sense, legal research includes each step of a course of action that begins with an analysis of the facts of a problem and concludes with the application and communication of the results of the investigation.4 Legal research thus revolves around finding facts and finding law, not necessarily in that order and not necessarily in one place or at one time. To ‘internationalise’ this process of identifying and retrieving these facts and law is to further complicate an already intricate course of action. In the hope of making discussion simpler, we will first consider the ideas of fact-finding, then law finding. Thereafter, by way of illustration, the two may be put...