Surprise, surprise, Courts seem to be split on the issue of whether or not Wikipedia is a proper legal source. In the previous post, people were discussing this link on Wikipedia:

Which is a listing of holdings from Courts that have cited Wikipedia in various countries, including the United States.

So I started digging through them and found what seems to be the most thorough treatment of Wikipedia as a proper legal source to date. From S.D.N.Y. Alfa Co. v. OAO Alfa Bank  The relevant discussion is on pages 7 to 12, Reliability of Internet Sources. It’s much too long to reproduce in full, but here is an excerpt:

To begin with, it is not clear that internet sources ingeneral, or the ones cited by Mr. Muravnik in particular, areinherently unreliable. Countless contemporary judicial opinionscite internet sources, and many specifically cite Wikipedia…(long list of cases citing Wikipedia)

While citing a website in a judicial opinion is not analytically identical to basing an expert opinion on such a source (which, as explained below, is not what Mr. Muravnik in fact does), the frequent citation of Wikipedia at least suggests that many courtsdo not consider it to be inherently unreliable. In fact, a recentand highly-publicized analysis in the magazine Nature found thatthe error rate of Wikipedia entries was not significantly greater than in those of the Encyclopaedia Britannica…

Thus, despite reasonable concerns about the ability of anonymous users to alter Wikipedia entries, the information provided there is not so inherently unreliable as to render inadmissible any opinion that references it…

So is Wikipedia a proper legal source? Like most legal questions – it depends. At this point, personally, I would not be inclined to reference Wikipedia in any document I was going to file with the court. I’d rather let someone else take point on the issue and find out whether or not it is a reliable source from on high. YMMV.

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