Fishing expedition

Fishing expedition is a colloquial, informal 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 intrusive searches of a defendant's premises, person, or possessions when (in the defense's view) there is insufficient probable cause to carry out such a search. The term is sometimes also used in civil litigation when one party's attorney orders extensive discovery, which can delay the resolution of the case and increase the cost of litigating the matter. The metaphor likens this to a fishing trip where, if one casts a wide enough net, they are bound to score something, regardless of whether the information is significant or not (like trawling up an old boot from the river).

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