Artificial intelligence and law

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Artificial Intelligence and Law (AI and Law) is a subfield of Artificial Intelligence (AI) mainly concerned with applications of AI to legal informatics problems and original research on those problems. It is also concerned to contribute in the other direction: to export tools and techniques developed in the context of legal problems to AI in general. For example, theories of legal decision making, especially models of argumentation, have contributed to knowledge representation and reasoning; models of social organization based on norms have contributed to multi-agent systems; reasoning with legal cases has contributed to case-based reasoning; and the need to store and retrieve large amounts of textual data has resulted in contributions to conceptual information retrieval and intelligent databases.


Although Loevinger,[1] Allen[2] and Mehl[3] anticipated several of the ideas that would become important in AI and Law, the first serious proposal for applying AI techniques to law is usually taken to be Buchanan and Headrick.[4] Early work from this period includes Thorne McCarty’s influential TAXMAN project[5] in the USA and Ronald Stamper’s LEGOL project[6] in the UK. The former concerned the modeling of the majority and minority arguments in a US Tax law case (Eisner v Macomber), while the latter attempted to provide a formal model of the rules and regulations that govern an organization. Landmarks in the early 1980s include Carole Hafner’s work on conceptual retrieval,[7] Anne Gardner’s work on contract law,[8] Rissland’s work on legal hypotheticals[9] and the work at Imperial College, London on executable formalisations of legislation.[10]

Early meetings of scholars included a one-off meeting at Swansea,[11] the series of conferences organized by IDG in Florence[12] and the workshops organised by Charles Walter at the University of Houston in 1984 and 1985.[13] In 1987 a biennial conference, the International Conference on AI and Law (ICAIL), was instituted.[14] This conference began to be seen as the main venue for publishing and the developing ideas within AI and Law,[15] and it led to the foundation of the International Association for Artificial Intelligence and Law (IAAIL), to organize and convene subsequent ICAILs. This in turn led to the foundation of the Artificial Intelligence and Law Journal, first published in 1992.[16] In Europe, the annual JURIX conferences (organised by the Jurix Foundation for Legal Knowledge Based Systems), began in 1988. Initially intended to bring together the Dutch-speaking (i.e. Dutch and Flemish) researchers, JURIX quickly developed into an international, primarily European, conference and since 2002 has regularly been held outside the Dutch speaking countries.[17] Since 2007 the JURISIN workshops have been held in Japan under the auspices of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence.[18]

Topics in Artificial Intelligence and Law[edit]

Today AI and Law embraces a wide range of topics including:

  • Formal models of legal reasoning
  • Computational models of argumentation and decision making
  • Computational models of evidential reasoning
  • Legal reasoning in multi-agent systems
  • Executable models of legislation
  • Automatic legal text classification and summarization
  • Automated information extraction from legal databases and texts
  • Machine learning and data mining for e-discovery and other legal applications
  • Conceptual or model-based legal information retrieval

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Loevinger, Lee. Jurimetrics--The Next Step Forward. Minn. L. Rev. 33 (1948): 455.
  2. ^ Allen, Layman E. Symbolic logic: A razor-edged tool for drafting and interpreting legal documents. Yale LJ 66 (1956): 833.
  3. ^ Mehl, L.Automation in the Legal World: From the Machine Processing of Legal Information to the" Law Machine,. Mechanisation of Thought Processes (1958): 757-787.
  4. ^ Buchanan, Bruce G., and Headrick, Thomas E. Some speculation about artificial intelligence and legal reasoning. Stanford Law Review (1970): 40-62.
  5. ^ McCarty, L. Thorne. Reflections on" Taxman: An Experiment in Artificial Intelligence and Legal Reasoning. Harvard Law Review (1977): 837-893.
  6. ^ Stamper, Ronald K. The LEGOL 1 prototype system and language. The Computer Journal 20.2 (1977): 102-108.
  7. ^ Hafner, Carole D., (1981). Representing knowledge in an information retrieval system. in Oddy, R et al. (editors) (1981). Information Retrieval Research. London: Butterworths.
  8. ^ Gardner, Anne The design of a legal analysis program. AAAI-83. 1983.
  9. ^ Rissland, Edwina L. Examples in Legal Reasoning: Legal Hypotheticals. IJCAI. 1983.
  10. ^ e.g. Sergot, Marek J., et al. The British Nationality Act as a logic program. Communications of the ACM 29.5 (1986): 370-386.
  11. ^ Niblett, Bryan, ed. Computer science and law. CUP Archive, 1980.
  12. ^ e.g. Ciampi, Costantino, and Martino, Antonio. Artificial intelligence and legal information systems. Elsevier Science Inc., 1982.
  13. ^ Walter, Charles. Computer power & legal language: the use of computational linguistics, artificial intelligence, & expert systems in the law. Greenwood Publishing Group Inc., 1988.
  14. ^ List of past ICAIL conferences
  15. ^ For a contemporary discussion of a selection of papers from the first thirteen conferences, see Bench-Capon, Trevor, et al. A history of AI and Law in 50 papers: 25 years of the international conference on AI and Law. Artificial Intelligence and Law 20.3 (2012): 215-319.
  16. ^ List of AI and Law journal volumes
  17. ^ List of Jurix conferences
  18. ^ See the list of workshops on the Jurisin 2014 page

External links[edit]