Network Structure Reveals Patterns of Legal Complexity in Human Society: The Case of the Constitutional Legal Network
PLoS ONE 14, e0209844 (2019)
11 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2018 Last revised: 15 Apr 2019
Date Written: June 26, 2018
Complexity in nature has been broadly found not only in physical and biological systems but also in social and economic systems. Although many studies have examined complex systems and helped us understand real-world complexity, the investigation to the legal complexity has not been thoroughly investigated. Here we introduce a novel approach to studying complex legal systems using complex network approaches. On the basis of the bipartite relations among Constitution articles and Court decisions, we built a complex legal network and found the system shows the heterogeneous structure as generally observed in many complex social systems. By treating legal networks as unique political regimes, we examine whether structural properties of the systems have been influenced as the society changes, or not. On one hand, there is a core structure in all legal networks regardless of any social circumstances. On the other hand, with relative comparison among different regimes’ networks, we could identify characteristic structural properties that reveal their identity. Our analysis would contribute to provide a better understanding of legal complexity and practical guidelines for use in various legal and social applications.
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