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A Predictive Role for Intermediate Legal Kevin D. Ashley and Stefanie Bruninghaus
 

Summary: A Predictive Role for Intermediate Legal
Concepts
Kevin D. Ashley and Stefanie Bršuninghaus
University of Pittsburgh - Intelligent Systems Program,
Learning Research and Development Center and School of Law
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
ashley@pitt.edu, steffi@pitt.edu
Abstract. Experiments described here demonstrate a role that intermediate legal con-
cepts play in predicting the decisions of new cases. The experiments compare vari-
ations of each of an Issue-Based Prediction algorithm (IBP) and a CATO prediction
algorithm in which the use of legal concepts are ablated in various ways. The results
confirm those legal philosophical theories that assert that intermediate concepts in le-
gal principles perform a guiding or extending role in deciding new cases.
1 Introduction
Legal philosophers have observed that intermediate legal concepts like "owner", "citizen",
"territory", "trade secret", "breach of confidence" and others appear to serve as "vehicles of
inference" between statements of legal grounds, on the one hand, and legal consequences,
on the other. (Lindahl 2003, p. 185). According to the Scandinavian realist, Alf Ross, that
was their only role (Ross 1957). In his famous example, he described a (fictional) South Seas
island society with certain rules concerning T^u-t^u, as in:

  

Source: Ashley, Kevin D. - Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh

 

Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences