Changing legal systems: legal abrogations and annulments in Defeasible Logic

Logic Journal of the IGPL 18 (1):157-194 (2010)


In this paper we investigate how to represent and reason about legal abrogations and annulments in Defeasible Logic. We examine some options that embed in this setting, and in similar rule-based systems, ideas from belief and base revision. In both cases, our conclusion is negative, which suggests to adopt a different logical model. This model expresses temporal aspects of legal rules, and distinguishes between two main timelines, one internal to a given temporal version of the legal system, and another relative to how the legal system evolves over time. Accordingly, we propose a temporal extension of Defeasible Logic suitable to express this model and to capture abrogation and annulment. We show that the proposed framework overcomes the difficulties discussed in regard to belief and base revision, and is sufficiently flexible to represent many of the subtleties characterizing legal abrogations and annulments

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