Legal Shifts in the Process of Proof

Floris Bex and Bart Verheij

In this paper, we continue our research on a hybrid narrativeargumentative approach to evidential reasoning in the law by showing the interaction between factual reasoning and legal reasoning. We therefore emphasize the role of legal story schemes (as opposed to factual story schemes that formed the heart of our previous proposal). Legal story schemes steer what needs to be proven, but are also selected on the basis of what can be proven. They provide a coherent, holistic legal perspective on a criminal case that steers investigation and decision making. We present an extension of our previously proposed hybrid theory of reasoning with evidence, by making the connection with reasoning towards legal consequences. We discuss the phenomenon of legal shifts that shows that the step from evidence to (proven) facts cannot be isolated from the step from proven facts to legal consequences. We show how legal shifts can be modelled in terms of legal story schemes. Our model is illustrated by a discussion of the Dutch Wamel murder case.

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Bex, F.J., & Verheij, B. (2011). Legal Shifts in the Process of Proof. The 13th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law (ICAIL 2011). Proceedings of the Conference, 11-20. New York (New York): ACM.

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