Legal Stories and the Process of Proof

Floris Bex and Bart Verheij

In this paper, we continue our research on a hybrid narrative-argumentative approach to evidential reasoning in the law by showing the interaction between factual reasoning (providing a proof for `what happened' in a case) and legal reasoning (making a decision based on the proof). First we extend the hybrid theory by making the connection with reasoning towards legal consequences. We then emphasise the role of legal stories (as opposed to the factual stories of the hybrid theory). Legal stories provide a coherent, holistic legal perspective on a case. They steer what needs to be proven but are also selected on the basis of what can be proven. We show how these legal stories can be used to model a shift of the legal perspective on a case, and we discuss how gaps in a legal story can be filled using a factual story (i.e. the process of reasoning with circumstantial evidence). Our model is illustrated by a discussion of the Dutch Wamel murder case.

Manuscript (in PDF-format)

Bex, F., and Verheij, B. (2013). Legal Stories and the Process of Proof. Artificial Intelligence and Law 21 (3), 253-278.

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