2010/01: Using citation analysis techniques for computer-assisted legal research in continental jurisdictions

Using citation analysis techniques for computer-assisted legal research in continental jurisdictions

This book investigates the use of citation analysis techniques for relevance ranking in computerassisted legal research systems.

Overviews on information retrieval, legal research, computer-assisted legal research (CALR), and the role of citations in legal research enable the formulation of a proposition: Relevance ranking in contemporary CALR systems could profit from the use of citation analysis techniques. After examining potential previous work in the areas of Web search, legal network analysis, and legal citation analysis, the proposition is further developed into a testable hypothesis: A basic citationbased algorithm, despite all its shortcomings, could be used to significantly improve relevance ranking in computer-assisted legal research. By computing and analysing the distribution of 242,078 headnote citations across 80,195 opinions written by the Austrian Supreme Court of Justice between 1985 and 2008, proof for this hypothesis is presented.

This was originally written as the authors LLM (Master of Laws) by Research thesis at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, between 2008 and 2009. Anton Geist currently works as a contract researcher at the Centre for Computers and Law (Head: Professor Erich Schweighofer) at University of Vienna, Austria. You can reach him at home@antongeist.com.

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