Modelling artificial legal reasoning

  • Joost Breuker
Problem Solving Models Building Steps
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 723)

Abstract

As part of the KADS library a generic model for reasoning in assessment tasks has been proposed [Breuker et al., 1987], and recently refined [Valente & Lockenhoff, 1993]. Most legal reasoning tasks are assessement tasks. An architecture has been developed for legal reasoning: TRACS [Breuker & denHaan, 1991]. In this architecture, a distinction is made between reasoning about a (legal) world (case) and about the legal consequences (applying regulations). For each subtask different knowledge bases are required. The World KB contains a (terminological) description of a legal world, i.e. some social subsystem, like traffic or social security. The regulations that refer to this legal world are represented (isomorphically) in the Regulation KB. This separation of reasoning and knowledge bases makes artificial legal reasoning tractable, and in particular the way regulations are applied is very efficient, and is equivalent to the use of deontic logic [denHaan, 1993].

The TRACS architecture maps easily onto the KADS conceptual model of assessment. However, in the KADS model it is assumed that “norms” (regulations) can be specified from the model of the world. This is not true. These norms are external to that world, and cannot be derived from it, as can be in diagnosis tasks. Advantages and problems in knowledge acquisition for legal assessement tasks are discussed. Because regulations can be represented isomorphically with their textual source, knowledge acquisition appears very unproblematic. However, modelling a legal world, i.e. the social system that the regulation is supposed to control, is more difficult, because this social system and the presuppositions about its working is always largely implicit.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joost Breuker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and LawUniversity of AmsterdamCZ Amsterdamthe Netherlands

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