A Default-Logic Paradigm for Legal Reasoning and Factfinding


Unlike research in linguistics and artificial intelligence, legal research has not used advances in logical theory very effectively. This article uses default logic to develop a paradigm for analyzing all aspects of legal reasoning, including factfinding. The article provides a formal model that integrates legal rules and policies with the evaluation of both expert and non-expert evidence – whether the reasoning occurs in courts or administrative agencies, and whether in domestic, foreign, or international legal systems. This paradigm can standardize the representation of legal reasoning, guide empirical research into the dynamics of such reasoning, and put the representations and research results to immediate use through artificial intelligence software. This new model therefore has the potential to transform legal practice and legal education, as well as legal theory.


Evidence | Internet Law | Jurisprudence | Law | Law and Society | Science and Technology Law

Date of this Version

June 2006