There are approximately 41.4 million acres of farmland in Saskatchewan, Canada.  Farms in Saskatchewan have an average size of 1,668 acres.  And one of those farms has been at the centre of a revealing dispute that has captured worldwide interest (the linked article is from Singapore's Straits Times, and there is much more coverage globally) that illustrates the approach that courts take to disputes, as distinct from how they might be thought to approach them.   

The case is all about a Canadian farmer (not the guy in the photo) who was found to have entered into a legally binding contract to sell flax by sending a 👍 - the Thumbs Up emoji.   

It sounds like one of those cases that you read about where a judge gets a funny idea into their head as they try and engage with the real world, but it should perhaps be thought of in a different way, and something that illustrates a common mis-perception of how courts deal with cases.  

The detail of a case is very important, and was examined minutely here, but the reality is that judges generally try to make what they think are the right decisions, reflecting their view of the justice of a situation.  A lot of cases can come down to “judge appeal“. It is not quite as random as that, and there are some cases where the sheer weight of the law in an area compels an unattractive outcomes but generally, if your case lacks judge appeal, then it may well struggle when placed in front of an actual judge.  

Reading between the lines here, even on what is set out in this report, it seems that the judge was pretty confident that a deal had been done between the parties, and most of us would be very surprised if 👍 didn't mean "YES".  So it is difficult to ascribe any great legal breakthrough to this case, but what it emphases is the judge clearly thought the deal had been done, and any clever arguments put forward by the defendant looking to avoid the deal were nixed by the court.