Artificial Intelligence and Law

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 57-82

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Reconstructing Popov v. Hayashi in a framework for argumentation with structured arguments and Dungean semantics

  • Henry PrakkenAffiliated withDepartment of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht UniversityFaculty of Law, University of Groningen Email author 


In this article the argumentation structure of the court’s decision in the Popov v. Hayashi case is formalised in Prakken’s (Argument Comput 1:93–124; 2010) abstract framework for argument-based inference with structured arguments. In this framework, arguments are inference trees formed by applying two kinds of inference rules, strict and defeasible rules. Arguments can be attacked in three ways: attacking a premise, attacking a conclusion and attacking an inference. To resolve such conflicts, preferences may be used, which leads to three corresponding kinds of defeat, after which Dung’s (Artif Intell 77:321–357; 1995) abstract acceptability semantics can be used to evaluate the arguments. In the present paper the abstract framework is instantiated with strict inference rules corresponding to first-order logic and with defeasible inference rules for defeasible modus ponens and various argument schemes. The main techniques used in the formal reconstruction of the case are rule-exception structures and arguments about rule validity. Arguments about socio-legal values and the use of precedent cases are reduced to arguments about rule validity. The tree structure of arguments, with explicit subargument relations between arguments, is used to capture the dependency relations between the elements of the court’s decision.


Legal argument Argumentation structure Logics for argumentation