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Persuasion and Value in Legal Argument TREVOR BENCH-CAPON, KATIE ATKINSON and ALISON CHORLEY,

Summary: Persuasion and Value in Legal Argument
Department of Computer Science, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX,
UK. Email: {tbc,katie,alison}@csc.liv.ac.uk
In this paper we consider legal reasoning as a species of practical reasoning. As such it is important both that arguments are
considered in the context of competing, attacking and supporting arguments, and that the possibility of rational disagreement
is accommodated. We present two formal frameworks for considering systems of arguments: the standard framework of
Dung, and an extension which relates arguments to values allowing for rational disagreement. We apply these frameworks to
modelling a body of case law, explain how the frameworks can be generated to reconstruct legal reasoning in particular cases,
and describe some tools to support the extraction of the value related knowledge required from a set of precedent cases.
Keywords: Argumentation, legal reasoning, practical reasoning, argumentation frameworks, argumentation schemes, critical
questions, legal theory construction.
1 Introduction
Legal reasoning is typically directed towards the resolution of some disagreement. Sometimes it
may be a matter of fact that is in dispute: such matters are resolved by presenting evidence to a jury.
But when the dispute turns on a point of law, there is no fact of the matter: the court must choose
which arguments they will follow, which position they will adopt. In this situation persuasion, not
demonstration or proof, is the central notion: counsels for the parties attempt to persuade the court,
and the judge writing the decision attempts to persuade any superior court to which the decision may


Source: Atkinson, Katie - Department of Computer Science, University of Liverpool


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences