Legal Interpretation by Computer: A Survey of Interpretative Rules
Humboldt University of Berlin - Faculty of Law
September 15, 2008
Akron Intellectual Property Journal, Vol. 5, pp. 71-93, 2011
The common law admits a number of methods of legal interpretation. Legal methods of interpretation are essentially computable functions capable of being expressed through mathematical algorithms. However the common law generally does not explicitly denominate the relative hierarchical positions of different methods of interpretation. This article limits itself to sketching the various methods of legal interpretation of the common law and representing them computationally in a computer program to prove the first proposition: legal interpretative rules can be coherently expressed as mathematical algorithms. However it leaves open the second question, whether and to what extent these various methods are in fact not explicitly hierarchically denominated, as a field for future research. This paper is a first step towards a legal realist critique of the common law which. Unlike the first wave of realists it focuses not on the manipulability of specific formalist methods as such but rather on the ability of the judge to capriciously choose which method he applies.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 25
Keywords: legal interpretation, savigny, duncan kennedy, artificial intelligence
JEL Classification: C8, K20Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 19, 2008 ; Last revised: November 21, 2011
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