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Evidence, please

It is surprising how often the willfulness of lawyers or litigants drives litigation, rather than evidence. We see an instance of this in the “theory” that William Shakespeare did not write the “Shakespearean canon” and that the plays and poems were written by, among others, Francis Bacon. This theory was first advanced by Delia Bacon in a book published in 1857.

The essential element of the book, in explaining its success, was prolixity. A work is prolix if it is too long. It is a general human failing to think that there must be substance to something if it can be written about at length.

At any length, Ms. Bacon’s book was too long.

In this vein, some solicitors and some barristers stand out for an inability to produce short affidavits. They talk all around the problem, avoiding the terms in which the opponent has defined the issues. This may be very good in principle, but it is tiresome in practice and oppressive when the prolix affidavit is sworn in the cause of big institutions, for, in truth, this is a feature of struggles with big institutions; they try to talk the problem away.

One Comment

  1. Well stated!