A theory of legal reasoning and a logic to match

Artificial Intelligence and Law 4 (3-4):199-273 (1996)
Abstract
This paper describes a model of legal reasoning and a logic for reasoning with rules, principles and goals that is especially suited to this model of legal reasoning. The paper consists of three parts. The first part describes a model of legal reasoning based on a two-layered view of the law. The first layer consists of principles and goals that express fundamental ideas of a legal system. The second layer contains legal rules which in a sense summarise the outcome of the interaction of the principles and goals for a number of case types. Both principles, goals and rules can be used in legal arguments, but their logical roles are different. One characteristic of the model of legal reasoning described in the first part of the paper is that it takes these logical differences into account. Another characteristic is that it pays serious attention to the phenomena of reasoning about the validity and acceptance of rules, respectively principles and goals, and about the application of legal rules, and the implications of these arguments for the use of rules, principles and goals in deriving legal conclusions for concrete cases.The second part of the paper first describes a logic (Reason-Based Logic) that is especially suited to deal with legal arguments as described in terms of the previously discussed model. The facilities of the logic are illustrated by means of examples that correspond to the several aspects of the model.
Keywords legal reasoning  reasoning with principles and rules  non-monotonic logic
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