Computers and the Humanities

, Volume 25, Issue 2–3, pp 141–147 | Cite as

Computers and legal reasoning: Developments in Germany

  • Herbert Fiedler


The importance of “reasoning” in law is pointed out. Law and jurisprudence belong to the “reasoning-conscious” disciplines. Accordingly, there is a long tradition of logic in law. The specific methods of professional work in law are to be seen in close connection with legal reasoning. The advent of computers at first did not touch upon legal reasoning (or the professional work in law). At first computers could be used only for general auxiliary functions (e.g., numerical calculations in tax law). Gradually, the use of computers for auxiliary functions in law has become more specific and more sophisticated (e.g., legal information retrieval), touching more closely upon professional legal work. Moreover, renewed interest in AI has also fostered interest in AI in law, especially for legal expert systems. AI techniques can be used in support of legal reasoning. Yet until now legal expert systems have remained in the research and development stage and have hardly succeeded in becoming a profitable tool for the profession. Therefore it is hoped that the two lines of computer support, for auxiliary functions in law and for immediate support of legal reasoning, may unite in the future.

Key Words

law legal reasoning logic in law legal informatics expert systems 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Herbert Fiedler
    • 1
  1. 1.Forschungsstelle für juristische Informatik and AutomationUniversität BonnBonn 1Germany

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