The role of context in case-based legal reasoning: Teleological, temporal, and procedural [Book Review]

Artificial Intelligence and Law 10 (1-3):19-64 (2002)
Abstract
Computational models of relevance in case-based legal reasoning have traditionallybeen based on algorithms for comparing the facts and substantive legal issues of aprior case to those of a new case. In this paper we argue that robust models ofcase-based legal reasoning must also consider the broader social and jurisprudentialcontext in which legal precedents are decided. We analyze three aspects of legalcontext: the teleological relations that connect legal precedents to the socialvalues and policies they serve, the temporal relations between prior andsubsequent cases in a legal domain, and the procedural posture of legal cases,which defines the scope of their precedential relevance. Using real examples drawnfrom appellate courts of New York and Massachusetts, we show with the courts' ownarguments that the doctrine of stare decisis (i.e., similar facts should lead to similar results) is subject to contextual constraints and influences. For each of the three aspects of legal context, we outline an expanded computational framework for case-based legal reasoning that encompasses the reasoning of the examples, and provides a foundation for generating a more robust set of legal arguments.
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