fishing expedition


fishing expedition
fish·ing ex·pe·di·tion /-ˌek-spə-'di-shən/ n
1: an inquiry (as by the use of discovery) that is unnecessarily extensive or unrelated to the lawsuit
2: an investigation that does not stick to a stated objective but hopes to uncover incriminating or newsworthy evidence

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

fishing expedition
Legal grasping at straws; the use of pretrial investigation discovery or witness questioning in an unfocused attempt to uncover damaging evidence to be used against an adversary.
Category: If, When & Where to File a Lawsuit
Category: Mediation, Arbitration & Collaborative Law
Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits
Category: Working With a Lawyer

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.


fishing expedition
Also known as a "fishing trip." Using the courts to find out information beyond the fair scope of the lawsuit. The loose, vague, unfocused questioning of a witness or the overly broad use of the discovery process. Discovery sought on general, loose, and vague allegations, or on suspicion, surmise, or vague guesses. The scope of discovery may be restricted by protective orders as provided for by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.


fishing expedition
Also known as a "fishing trip." Using the courts to find out information beyond the fair scope of the lawsuit. The loose, vague, unfocused questioning of a witness or the overly broad use of the discovery process. Discovery sought on general, loose, and vague allegations, or on suspicion, surmise, or vague guesses. The scope of discovery may be restricted by protective orders as provided for by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • fishing expedition — n. An investigation searching for evidence of wrongdoing, with no credible evidence of such wrongdoing available at the outset of the investigation, and often without specifying in advance the wrongdoing to be proven. [metaphorical] [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Fishing expedition — is a s co. legal term often encountered in the United States and other similar legal systems (and especially prevalent in TV and movie dramas). It is normally used by the defense to cynically refer to the prosecution s attempt to undertake more… …   Wikipedia

  • fishing expedition — noun an investigation undertaken in the hope (but not the stated purpose) of discovering information • Hypernyms: ↑probe, ↑investigation * * * noun 1. : a legal proceeding carried on for the primary purpose of interrogating an adversary or… …   Useful english dictionary

  • fishing expedition — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms fishing expedition : singular fishing expedition plural fishing expeditions informal an attempt to find out more information by asking a lot of questions …   English dictionary

  • fishing expedition —    If someone is on a fishing expedition, they are trying to obtain information in any way possible.     The lunch invitation was clearly a fishing expedition to obtain information about his private life …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

  • fishing expedition — n. an exploratory search for facts. (This involves asking questions with no preconceived notion of what the answers might reveal.) □ The lawyer was on a fishing expedition. There was no real wrong committed to justify a lawsuit. □ Your honor,… …   Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions

  • fishing expedition —    an attempt to obtain gratuitous information    Not knowing what you may catch, as crossexamining counsel, detective, journalist, or spy. Also as fishing trip:     ... things that an investigative fishing expedition into the break in could… …   How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms

  • fishing expedition —  An enquiry into an issue without a developed plan.  ► “This type of unplanned search for interesting findings has been called many things, from data sifting to a systematic fishing expedition.” (Marketing News, April 25, 1994, p. 4) …   American business jargon

  • fishing expedition — fishing trip or expedition Using the courts to find out information beyond the fair scope of the lawsuit. The loose, vague, unfocused questioning of a witness or the overly broad use of the discovery process. Discovery sought on general, loose,… …   Black's law dictionary

  • fishing expedition — fishing trip or expedition Using the courts to find out information beyond the fair scope of the lawsuit. The loose, vague, unfocused questioning of a witness or the overly broad use of the discovery process. Discovery sought on general, loose,… …   Black's law dictionary


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