Visualizing Dynamics around the Rule/Evidence Interface

Visualizing the Dynamics around the Rule/Evidence Interface in Legal Reasoning, Vern R. Walker. In Law, Probability and Risk 6:5-22 (2007). Prepublication copy available for download in .pdf format.


This paper presents a visual framework for modelling complex legal reasoning—reasoning that integrates legal rules and policies with expert and non-expert evidence. The framework is based on a many-valued, predicate, default logic. The paper first visualizes the two sides of the rule–evidence interface: rule-based deductions and evidence evaluation. It then explores ways to visualize several dynamics around that interface, including dynamics concerning evidentiary relevance, findings of fact, process decision making about motions, policy-based reasoning about rules and relevant-factor reasoning. The paper then concludes with visualizing dynamics across multiple cases and briefly discusses one pathway by which new legal rules might emerge from the factfinding process. The paper therefore presents a visual working environment for people who litigate or decide actual cases, who study judicial or administrative reasoning or who teach law.

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