The Design of a Legal Analysis Program

Anne v.d.L. Gardner

The analysis of legal problems is a relatively new domain for AI. This paper outlines a model of legal reasoning, giving special attention to the unique characteristics of the domain, and describes a program based on the model. Major features include (1) distinguishing between questions the program has enough information to resolve and questions that competent lawyers could argue either way; (2) using incompletely defined ("open-textured") technical concepts; (3) combining the use of knowledge expressed as rules and knowledge expressed as examples; and (4) combining the use of professional knowledge and commonsense knowledge. All these features may prove important in other domains besides law, but previous AI research has left them largely unexplored.

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