The meaning and the mining of legal texts
Positive law, inscribed in legal texts, entails an authority not inherent in literary texts, generating legal consequences that can have real effects on a person's life and liberty. The interpretation of legal texts, necessarily a normative undertaking, resists the mechanical application of rules, though still requiring a measure of predictability, coherence with other relevant legal norms, and compliance with constitutional safeguards. The present proliferation of legal texts on the Internet (codes, statutes, judgements, treaties, doctrinal treatises) renders the selection of relevant texts and cases next to impossible. We may expect that systems to mine these texts to find arguments that support one's case, as well as expert systems that support the decision-making process of courts, will end up doing much of the work.
Hildebrandt, M. (2012)., The meaning and the mining of legal texts, in D. M. Berry (ed.), Understanding digital humanities, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 145-160.
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