Fishing Expedition Law and Legal Definition

Fishing expedition is an informal legal term 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.