Extracting Legal Arguments from Forensic Bayesian Networks

Sjoerd Timmer, John-Jules Meyer, Henry Prakken, Silja Renooij, Bart Verheij

Recent developments in the forensic sciences have confronted the field of legal reasoning with the new challenge of reasoning under uncertainty. Forensic results come with uncertainty and are described in terms of likelihood ratios and random match probabilities. The legal field is unfamiliar with numerical valuations of evidence, which has led to confusion and in some cases to serious miscarriages of justice. The cases of Lucia de B. in the Netherlands and Sally Clark in the UK are infamous examples where probabilistic reasoning has gone wrong with dramatic consequences. One way of structuring probabilistic information is in Bayesian networks(BNs). In this paper we explore a new method to identify legal arguments in forensic BNs. This establishes a formal connection between probabilistic and argumentative reasoning. Developing such a method is ultimately aimed at supporting legal experts in their decision making process.

Manuscript (in PDF-format)

Timmer, S., Meyer, J.J., Prakken, H., Renooij, S., & Verheij, B. (2014). Extracting Legal Arguments from Forensic Bayesian Networks. Legal Knowledge and Information Systems. JURIX 2014: The Twenty-Seventh Annual Conference (ed. Hoekstra, R.), 71-80. Amsterdam: IOS Press.

Bart Verheij's home page - research - publications