Trial by internet: Wikipedia's influence on (Irish) judges' legal reasoning

Trial by internet: Wikipedia's influence on (Irish) judges' legal reasoning

This paper investigates the influence on legal judgments of a pervasive, but unauthoritative source of legal knowledge: Wikipedia. Using the first randomized field experiment ever undertaken in this area it is shown that Wikipedia shapes judicial behavior. Wikipedia articles on decided cases, written for example by law students, guide both the decisions that judges cite as precedents and the textual content of their written opinions. The information and legal analysis offered on Wikipedia led judges to cite the relevant legal cases more often ó and to talk about them in ways comparable to how the Wikipedia authors had framed them.