Garbage in means Garbage Out in Litigation and in Life

The title of this Blog is often used in terms of data management to mean that if you input garbage your results will not be impressive.

As a litigator, this also applies to the information provided to me by my clients. If my client does not give me full disclosure, then that is “garbage in” and the result likely will be “garbage out” when the information inevitably comes out through the various steps in the litigation. This is why most litigators, certainly all good litigators like us, are adamant: give us your full disclosure – we will decide what needs to be produced to the opposing party.

Similarly, I’m reading a lot in the news stream (again) about people walking out of rooms when a person they disagree with starts speaking. Wow. That is a recipe for garbage in/garbage out in my opinion.

What I mean by that is that if you refuse to hear the position of someone who disagrees with you, you’re only going to be surrounded by your position and that is going to become an echo chamber. Ultimately, if you’re only hearing one view, you only understand one view and that won’t let you evaluate opposing views from a calm, rational perspective as you won’t be used to hearing them.

I’m particularly concerned when I hear this in government – particularly in the Canadian Federal Government. I understand the Liberal members of the Committee on Women recently walked out because they didn’t like who the opposition appointed to the Committee. I personally don’t agree with the views held by the opposition member that led to the walkout, however, I support their right to have their personal views and am concerned that the Government walking out of the committee is not democracy in action. It’s the opposite.

So. Garbage in/garbage out. Let’s take out the garbage – it’s better for everyone.

Inga B. Andriessen JD
iandriessen@andriessen.ca

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