A Default-Logic Paradigm for Legal Fact-Finding

A Default-Logic Paradigm for Legal Fact-Finding, Vern R. Walker. In Jurimetrics 47:193-243 (2007). Copy of full text available for download in .pdf format.


Unlike research in linguistics and artificial intelligence, legal research has not used advances in logical theory very effectively. This article uses default logic to develop a paradigm for analyzing the reasoning behind legal fact-finding. The article provides a formal model that integrates legal rules and policies with the evaluation of both expert and nonexpert evidence—whether the fact-finding occurs in courts or administrative agencies, and whether in domestic, foreign, or international legal systems. This paradigm can standardize the representation of fact-finding reasoning, guide empirical research into the dynamics of such reasoning, and help prepare such representations and research results for automation through artificial intelligence software. This new model therefore has the potential to transform legal practice and legal education, as well as legal theory.

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