An AI Model of Case-Based Legal Argument From a Jurisprudential Viewpoint

TitleAn AI Model of Case-Based Legal Argument From a Jurisprudential Viewpoint
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsAshley, KD
JournalArtificial Intelligence and Law

This article describes recent jurisprudential accountsof analogical legal reasoning andcompares them in detail to the computational modelof case-based legal argument inCATO. The jurisprudential models provide a theoryof relevance based on low-levellegal principles generated in a process ofcase-comparing reflective adjustment. Thejurisprudential critique focuses on the problemsof assigning weights to competingprinciples and dealing with erroneously decidedprecedents. CATO, a computerizedinstructional environment, employs ArtificialIntelligence techniques to teach lawstudents how to make basic legal argumentswith cases. The computational modelhelps students test legal hypotheses againsta database of legal cases, draws analogiesto problem scenarios from the database, andcomposes arguments by analogy with a setof argument moves. The CATO model accountsfor a number of the important featuresof the jurisprudential accounts, includingimplementing a kind of reflective adjustment.It also avoids some of the problems identifiedin the critique; for instance, it deals withweights in a non-numeric, context-sensitivemanner. The article concludes by describingthe contributions AI research can make tojurisprudential investigations of complexcognitive phenomena of legal reasoning. Forinstance, unlike the jurisprudential models,CATO provides a detailed account of how togenerate multiple interpretations of a citedcase, downplaying or emphasizing the legalsignificance of distinctions in terms of thepurposes of the law as the argument contextdemands