Legal case-based reasoning as practical reasoning

Artificial Intelligence and Law 13 (1):93-131 (2005)
Abstract
In this paper we apply a general account of practical reasoning to arguing about legal cases. In particular, we provide a reconstruction of the reasoning of the majority and dissenting opinions for a particular well-known case from property law. This is done through the use of Belief-Desire-Intention (BDI) agents to replicate the contrasting views involved in the actual decision. This reconstruction suggests that the reasoning involved can be separated into three distinct levels: factual and normative levels and a level connecting the two, with conclusions at one level forming premises at the next. We begin by summarising our general approach, which uses instantiations of an argumentation scheme to provide presumptive justifications for actions, and critical questions to identify arguments which attack these justifications. These arguments and attacks are organised into argumentation frameworks to identify the status of individual arguments. We then discuss the levels of reasoning that occur in this reconstruction and the properties and significance of each of these levels. We illustrate the different levels with short examples and also include a discussion of the role of precedents within these levels of reasoning.
Keywords argumentation  case based reasoning  intermediate legal concepts  legal decision making  practical reasoning  teleological reasoning
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