GBS: A Gripe

I’m mildly annoyed that the parties’ briefs in support of the settlement generally cite the objections only as, e.g. “D.I. 264” — that is, by reference to their docket index number. That makes it harder to tell which objection they’re addressing, which in turn makes it harder to tell whether the response is on point.

I can understand why they did it. For one thing, it has the rhetorical effect of belittling the objections, which (implicitly) aren’t important enough to be worth identifying. But it also has the effect of obscuring the issues at stake, making it harder for the judge, the other lawyers in the case, and the public to follow the arguments. Regrettable.

I have wondered whether the Judge is reading these documents in hard copy, or is he mainly using an electronic document management system. To what extent does he rely on the work of his clerks in synthesising and summarising the documents in his pile? Presumably he has an efficient search system which allows him to find any particular concept or phrase very quickly. The efficiency of the document management in this case surely has a bearing on the quality of his decisions. Are the tools adequate to the mountain of documentation? I guess this case is not too unusual in the mass of documentation, but it is still unusual in its potential ramifications across areas of innovation and hidden possibilities.

The federal courts don’t have much in the way of document management. Electronic filing is easier to use from inside the court, but in terms of high-quality search and cross-referencing, I wish our courts had anything of the sort. The quality of a judge’s processes, her clerks’ ability to stay organized, and her own capacious memory are the biggest factors in enabling her to stay on top of the mountain.

Could somebody ask Judge Chin to require parties to cite objectors by name, at least in their oral submissions?

Does anyone know which objection was D.I. 646?

This is addressed in the Supplemental Memorandum:

One objector has argued that public libraries and non-­profit higher educational institutions should pay a licensing fee to have a terminal available for public access.

The full list of docket entries is available on the Justia page. #646 is this letter from the Writers’ Union of Canada