SQL Server does NOT have guaranteed short circuiting in that scenario. The point of this construct is so that
businessLogicCondition is only evaluated as part of the
WHERE clause in the case where
@term1 is populated. It may still be evaluated as part of query processing, because you can only control order of evaluation in a few special cases (no pun intended).
WHERE clause would actually have different meaning, unless
businessLogicCondition actually referenced
@term1 explicitly and in such a way that it could only return true if
WHERE @term1 IS NULL OR (businessLogicCondition)
businessLogicCondition may still be evaluated, but this form of the
WHERE clause could, potentially, return rows based on
businessLogicCondition, regardless of whether
Now, with the pertinent info added to your question:
No, in this specific case, the
@term1 IS NOT NULL AND is redundant and cannot possibly help the optimizer come up with a better plan (except maybe in the case where there is a filtered index with that same). In fact in the above scenario I mentioned before I had that information, it won't lead to a better plan either, but it can change whether the results are correct or not.
It is important to note that as written SQL Server will optimize and cache an execution plan based on the first execution. It may be the case that a better plan can be used in the scenario where
NOT NULL (e.g. when
@term1 is something like
somestring%, it may be able to seek, but not with
%somestring%). So you might consider using dynamic SQL to formulate one version of the query or the other, depending on the value of the parameter, especially if you have multiple optional parameters (I call this "the kitchen sink"). The
OR that remains may still be problematic; there are a lot of variable factors.