One law lecturer says Irish judges relying on Wikipedia as a source is 'worrying' but not surprising'.
A new study has found that Irish judges are using Wikipedia as a source for their rulings.
Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Maynooth University created 154 articles on Irish Supreme Court decisions - half of which were uploaded to Wikipedia.
The experiment subsequently found the uploaded cases were 20% more likely to be cited, than similar cases which weren't uploaded.
Larry Donnelly is a law lecturer at NUI Galway.
He told The Hard Shoulder: "I'm a little bit concerned, I'm not necessarily surprised.
"Wikipedia is ubiquitous as a source - I think we all use it to an extent.
"We should be careful to note what the study has said, and what it doesn't say.
"It took two pools of articles on Wikipedia with cases created there, and the cases where there were articles created on Wikipedia were 20% more likely to be referenced in judgements.
"There's no evidence necessarily that there was any errors or any inconsistencies.
"But of course I think if you're relying on Wikipedia [it] is worrying - no doubt about it".
He says this could also come down to an overworked judiciary.
"The other issue here - and this comes right after retiring Justice Mary Irvine has said - that the High Court is down at least 15 or 16 judges, who desperately need to be appointed.
"The judges and their researchers and the clerks are extremely overworked.
"So that also has to be taken note of".
But he says people should never use Wikipedia as a primary source.
"One of the things we tell all of our students is: begin within secondary sources when you're doing research - but go to the primary source itself - that is the case or the statute or whatever it might be.
"So that's the issue. So I suppose in the world we live in now, I'm not hugely surprised".