Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One-Day Workshop on AI & Evidential Inference
in Conjunction with
ICAIL 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 10, 2011

Workshop Chairs: Giovanni Sartor & Peter Tillers

Program Committee: Henry Prakken, Giovanni Sartor, Douglas Walton, & Peter Tillers

For more information please contact either Giovanni Sartor - giovanni.sartor at - or Peter Tillers - peter.tillers at
Panelists: Ronald J. Allen, Rainhard Bengez, Floris Bex, Scott Brewer, Craig Callen, James Franklin, David Hamer, Bruce Hay, Joseph Laronge, D. Michael Risinger, Michael Pardo, Federico Picinali, Henry Prakken, Giovanni Sartor, Peter Tillers, Bart Verheij, Douglas Walton, Nanning Zhang

Subject: Computational methods and evidential inference in legal settings such as pretrial investigation and trials. Two foci of discussion will be (i) stories, narrative, or rhetoric, and evidential argument; and (ii) burdens of proof. Panelists will also be free to consider other topics, including, for example, (iii) evidential inference and statistical methods, and (iv) cognitive science, psychology, and inference.

If time allows, the Program Committee will review papers by other people for possible presentation at the workshop. Information about this possibility will be posted later.

Publication: The Oxford journal Law, Probability and Risk will publish those workshop papers that pass peer review.

Biographical details about panelists (listed in alphabetical order):

Ronald J. Allen, John Henry Wigmore Professor of Law at Northwestern University, in Chicago, Illinois. He did his undergraduate work in mathematics at Marshall University and studied law at the University of Michigan. He is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of evidence, procedure, and constitutional law. He has published five books and approximately eighty articles in major law reviews. The New York Times referred to him as one of nation's leading experts on evidence and procedure. He has been quoted in national news outlets hundreds of times, and appears regularly on national broadcast media on matters ranging from complex litigation to constitutional law to criminal justice.

Rainhard Z. Bengez is a lecturer in philosophy and mathematics, and scholar in residence at TU München, Germany. After seven years of religious education he studied and graduated in mathematics, medicine, and physics. In his PhD in mathematics he worked on formal systems, its theoretical limits and its limits concerning practical application. Together with Lothar Phillips he developed the concept of quantitative justice and fairness and its impact on decision systems, and on the idea of humanity. The overall idea of his research interests are questions and problems concerning structures of epistemic phenomena and how to gain epistemic insight by problem transformation and by using multiple (even unconventional) methods. Some of his recent projects:
(i) Integration of technology (esp. automata) in society, esp. Theory of Trust(!); (ii) Morality, emotions, and machines (chances and limits); (iii) Structure of energy systems (esp. in Europe, and there esp. in Germany, we have reached a point on which we cannot base our conclusions on historical data and assumptions as we try to change the historical (infra-) structure completely. Thus, we have to rethink given ontic and ontological concepts and extend our set of terms. This will or may enable our engineers to design / create new structures with a deeper connection to society and to include questions concerning complex systems.); (iv) Philosophy for children (Children develop questions concerning philosophy of science, technology, and society by using issues of natural sciences and technology according to their school curriculum.); and (v) Art & Science – the many ways of epistemic insights.
He has been awarded grants by German states for development of new ways in teaching functional illiterates mathematics, together with Marie-Cecile Bertau for her Gilgamesh project, as well as for his Theory of Trust project.

Floris Bex, postdoctoral research assistant, Argument Research Group, University of Dundee. Bex has written a comprehensive dissertation on reasoning with legal evidence and proof. In this dissertation he presents an informal theory, which caters to an (informal) philosophical and legal audience, as well as a more formal logical theory, aimed at an AI-oriented audience. His work has been frequently presented at the relevant conferences (Jurix, ICAIL). As of 2003, Floris has published four major journal papers on the subject of reasoning with evidence. At the University of Groningen (2005 - 2009), Floris has taught law students the basics of thinking about evidence and scenarios and he was recently (2010) invited by the court of appeals in Arnhem to give a seminar about reasoning with evidence. Together with Henry Prakken, Floris gave workshops on evidential reasoning at the IVR legal theory conference in Cracow (2007) and at a recent conference for Dutch judges and legal professionals (2010).

Scott Brewer, professor of law, Harvard Law School. Research Interests: Philosophical Aspects of Legal Thought. Education: SUNY at Stony Brook B.A. 1979, Philosophy and Religious Studies; Yale University M.A. 1980, Philosophy; Yale Law School J.D. 1988; Harvard University Ph.D. 1997, Philosophy. Appointments: Lecturer on Law, 1988 ; Assistant Professor of Law, 1991; Professor of Law, 1998. Representative Publications: Brewer, Scott. "Scientific Expert Testimony and Intellectual Due Process," 107 Yale Law Journal 1535 (1998); Brewer, Scott. "Exemplary Reasoning: Semantics, Pragmatics, and the Rational Force of Legal Argument by Analogy," 109 Harvard Law Review 923 (1996).

Craig Callen, Judge John D. O' Hair Professor of Evidence & Procedure, Michigan State University School of Law. Callen's research in evidence for the last three decades has focused on the lessons of psychology, math, logic, statistics and AI for evidence, with particular emphasis on information processing theory.

James Franklin, professor, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of New South Wales. Brief History. Franklin's undergraduate work was at the University of Sydney (1971-75). He completed his PhD in 1981 at Warwick University, on algebraic groups. Since 1981 he has taught in Mathematics at UNSW. His book What Science Knows: And How It Knows It (Encounter) was published in 2009. His book Catholic Values and Australian Realities appeared in 2006. Franklin's book Corrupting the Youth: A History of Philosophy in Australia was published by Macleay Press in 2003. His book The Science of Conjecture: Evidence and Probability Before Pascal (Johns Hopkins University Press) appeared in 2001. Franklin's research areas include the structuralist philosophy of mathematics and the 'formal sciences' (He is a member of the Sydney School), Australian Catholic history, the parallel between ethics and mathematics, restraint, the quantification of rights in applied ethics, and the analysis of extreme risks.

David Hamer, associate professor, Law Faculty, University of Sydney. David Hamer has undergraduate degrees in both science and law from the Australian National University and a PhD from the University of Melbourne. His dissertation examined probabilistic models of burdens and standards of proof. He has published a series of articles in leading journals in Australia and the UK applying probability theory to various aspects of evidence, proof and justice, including causation, the right to silence, civil and criminal standards of proof, delayed complaints and double jeopardy.

Bruce Hay, professor of law, Harvard Law School. Research Interests: Economics of Procedure and Litigation; Evidence; Legal Theory. Education: University of Wisconsin B.A. 1985, Political Science and French; Harvard Law School J.D. 1988. Appointments: Assistant Professor of Law, 1992; Professor of Law, 1998. Representative Publications: "Manufacturer Liability for Harm Caused by Consumers to Others," 94 American Economic Review 1700 (2005) (authored with K. Spier); "Sting Operations, Agents Provocateurs, and Entrapment," 70 Missouri Law Review 387 (2005); "'Sweetheart' and 'Blackmail' Settlements in Class Actions: Reality and Remedy," 75 Notre Dame Law Review 1377 (2000) (authored with D. Rosenberg); "Burdens of Proof in Civil Litigation: An Economic Perspective," 26 Journal of Legal Studies 413 (1997); "Allocating the Burden of Proof," 72 Indiana Law Journal 618 (1997).

Joseph Laronge, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Oregon Department of Justice: Laronge has been a trial and appellate attorney for 35 years. For the last ten years, he has made extensive use of argument mapping (e.g., Rationale software and embodied metaphoric argumentation visual languages) in trial illustrative exhibits and court briefs as ancillary support for factual and legal inferential arguments. During this period, he has applied these argument mapping approaches for teaching advanced legal reasoning skills as an adjunct professor of law in Advanced Argumentation at Lewis & Clark Law School and as a former associate with Austhink Consulting. He previously taught the fundamentals of legal reasoning as an adjunct professor of law in Legal Research & Writing at Willamette University Law School. From these experiences, Laronge found that the multiplicity of modes of inference and arguments schemes was an impediment to the enhancement of law students’ legal reasoning skills and the clear and rigorous representation of such argumentation in court. To help overcome this obstacle, he developed a single generalizable structure of inferential proof named defeasible class-inclusion transitivity (DCIT). Since 2005, Laronge has used DCIT successfully as a persuasive universal structure of factual and legal inferential reasoning in trial and appellate court real-world applications. An explanation of its theoretical foundation and its generalizable application in court is discussed in “A Generalizable Argument Structure Using Defeasible Class-inclusion Transitivity for Evaluating Evidentiary Probative Relevancy in Litigation” J Logic Computation exp066 first published online December 2, 2009 doi:10.1093/logcom/exp066.

Michael Pardo, associate professor of law, University of Alabama School of Law, writes and teaches in the areas of evidence, criminal procedure, civil procedure, and jurisprudence. His scholarship explores a variety of philosophical issues in these areas, with a particular focus on epistemological issues regarding evidence and legal proof. His recent scholarship also examines philosophical and evidentiary issues pertaining to law and neuroscience. Professor Pardo is the author of several publications in law reviews, including the Boston College, Illinois, Northwestern, Texas, and Iowa Law Reviews, among others, and in peer-reviewed journals, including Legal Theory, Law and Philosophy, and the Journal of Legal Studies, among others. His article, “The Field of Evidence and the Field of Knowledge,” was presented at the Stanford/Yale Junior Faculty Forum in the jurisprudence and philosophy category. Professor Pardo is also a co-author of the fifth edition of Evidence: Text, Problems, and Cases (Aspen, forthcoming, with Allen, Kuhns, Swift, and Schwartz) and a forthcoming book on law and neuroscience (with Dennis Patterson). Professor Pardo is currently the Chair-Elect of the American Association of Law Schools Section on Evidence. He also serves as the U.S. book review editor of International Commentary on Evidence. Professor Pardo joined the Alabama Law Faculty in 2005. Prior to joining the faculty, he was a visiting assistant professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law and at Northwestern University School of Law. Professor Pardo received his JD from Northwestern University School of Law.

Federico Picinali, LLM student at the Yale Law School; PhD student at the Università degli Studi of Trento, Italy. Former Visiting Researcher at UC Hastings, Cardozo School of Law and Penn Law. Former Exchange Student at the UCB Boalt Hall School of Law. Picinali received a Degree in legal sciences and a Specialized degree in law at the Università degli Studi of Milan, Italy. His research interests and publications concern the influence of fact finding on substantive criminal law principles, inferential reasoning, the beyond a reasonable doubt standard, the comparison between "legal reasoning" and "factual reasoning."

Henry Prakken, lecturer in the Intelligent Systems Group of the computer science department at Utrecht University, and professor of Law and IT at the Law Faculty of the University of Groningen. Prakken has master degrees in law (1985) and philosophy (1988) from the University of Groningen. In 1993 he obtained his PhD degree at the Free University Amsterdam with a thesis titled Logical Tools for Modelling Legal Argument. His main research interests concern logical and dialogical aspects of argumentation, and the application of argumentation in legal reasoning, multi-agent systems and other domains. Prakken was the ICAIL program chair in 2001 and the ICAIL president in 2008-9. He had papers accepted at all ICAIL conferences since 1991 except in 1999 (when he gave a tutorial). Prakken co-organised workshops on legal reasoning about evidence at ICAIL 2001 and IVR 2007 and a conference on a similar topic in New York. He has published regularly about evidence since 2001.

D. Michael Risinger, John J. Gibbons Professor of Law. Seton Hall University School of Law. Risinger holds a B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale University, and a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School. He clerked for the Honorable Clarence C. Newcomer of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He is a past chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Civil Procedure, the immediate past chair of the AALS Section on Evidence, and a life member of the American Law Institute. He was also a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Evidence for 25 years, which was responsible for the current version of the New Jersey Rules of Evidence. Professor Risinger moved to Seton Hall Law School in 1973. He served as a visiting senior fellow on the law faculty of the National University of Singapore from 1985-1986. Professor Risinger has published in the areas of evidence and civil procedure. He is the co-author of Trial Evidence, A Continuing Legal Education Casebook and the author of two chapters in Faigman, Kaye, Saks and Cheng, Modern Scientific Evidence (“Handwriting Identification” and “A Proposed Taxonomy of Expertise”). Professor Risinger was selected as one of Seton Hall’s two inaugural Dean’s Research Fellows (2002-2004) and was named the John J. Gibbons Professor of Law in May 2008. His scholarship has recently concentrated on wrongful convictions as well as expert evidence issues.

Giovanni Sartor, professor of Legal informatics and Legal Theory at the European University Institute of Florence and at the University of Bologna. He obtained a PhD at the European University Institute (Florence), worked at the Court of Justice of the European Union (Luxembourg), was a researcher at the Italian National Council of Research (ITTIG, Florence), held the chair in Jurisprudence at Queen’s University of Belfast (where he now is honorary professor), and was Marie-Curie professor at the European University of Florence. He is President of the International Association for Artificial Intelligence and Law. Sartor has published widely in legal philosophy, computational logic, legislation technique, and computer law. Among his publications is: Corso di informatica giuridica (Giappichelli, 2008), Legal Reasoning: A Cognitive Approach to the Law (Springer: 2005), The Law of Electronic Agents (Oslo: Unipubskriftserier, 2003), Judicial Applications of Artificial Intelligence (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1998), Logical Models of Legal Argumentation (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1996), and Artificial Intelligence in Law (Oslo: Tano, 1993).

Peter Tillers, professor of law, Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University. Tillers is a reviser of John Henry Wigmore's multi-volume treatise on the law of evidence and has published a variety of articles on evidence, inference, and investigation. He is an editor of the Oxford journal Law, Probability and Risk. He is former chairman and secretary of the Evidence Section of the Association of American Law Schools. He was a Fellow of Law & Humanities at Harvard University and an Alexander von Humboldt & Senior Max Rheinstein Fellow at the University of Munich. He was a visiting professor at Harvard Law School in the spring semester of 2002. Tillers was legal adviser for the Latvian mission to the United Nations during the 48th Session of the General Assembly. He maintains a website with discussion of a wide range of general issues of evidence. Tillers' scholarship focuses on evidential inference and fact investigation in legal settings. He maintains that multiple methods of marshaling and analyzing evidence are important in trials, in pretrial investigation and informal fact discovery, and in other domains. He believes that inference networks offer a useful window into investigative discovery and proof at trial. But he believes that subjective, synthetic, and gestalt-like perspectives on evidence, inference, and proof are also essential.

Bart Verheij, lecturer and researcher at the University of Groningen, Department of Artificial Intelligence and a member of the ALICE institute. He participates in the Multi-agent systems research program. His research interests include argumentation, rules and law, with emphasis on defeasible argumentation, legal reasoning and argumentation software. As research methods, he uses formal analysis (in the styles of logic and analytic philosophy), software design, algorithm implementation, agent-based social simulation, controlled experiment, observation, and thinking and exploring. His research field is interdisciplinary, and includes artificial intelligence, argumentation theory and legal theory.

Douglas Walton holds the Assumption University Chair in Argumentation Studies, and is Distinguished Research Fellow Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation and Rhetoric (CRRAR), at the University of Windsor. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Informal Logic, Argument and Computation, and Artificial Intelligence and Law. He is the author of forty-five books and three hundred refereed papers in the areas of argumentation, logic and artificial intelligence. The books include Witness Testimony Evidence, Cambridge University Press, 2008, Fundamentals of Critical Argumentation, Cambridge University Press, 2006, and Legal Argumentation and Evidence, Penn State Press, 2002.

Nanning Zhang, Ph.D., Senior Partner, Hunan Tiandiren Law Firm, Changsha, Hunan Province, People's Republic of China. Research interests: Evidence. Education: Henan University B.A. 1990, Enterprises Management; Central South University M.A. 1997, Philosophy of Science and Technology; Sun Yet-sen University Ph.D. 2006, Legal Logic; Post-doctoral fellow in evidence law at China University of Political Science and Law, 2009. Representative Publications: Nanning Zhang & Lingyun Tang, “On The Validity of Argument in Law”, in The Uses of Argument: Proceedings of a Conference at Mcmaster, David Hitchcock, Ed., Ontario, 515-524 (2005); Nanning Zhang & Douglas Walton, “Recent Trends in Evidence Law in China and the New Evidence Scholarship”, 9 (2) Law Probability and Risk 103-127 (2010).

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Declaration of (a Sort of) Victory

In the early 1990s I began teaching a course in fact investigation. This course was largely the upshot of two experiences: (i) my discovery at the very beginning of my legal career that practicing litigators did not know how to teach novice lawyers how to formulate effective strategies for pretrial fact investigation and formal discovery, and (ii) my collaboration with David Schum in a seven-year NSF-supported research project on preliminary fact investigation.

Before ever working with Schum, I aspired to develop a theory of pretrial fact investigation and trial preparation -- in part because my two stints in litigation convinced me of the immense importance of pretrial fact investigation and pretrial preparation. After working with David Schum (and learning from him), I came to believe more firmly than I did before that it is possible to teach important parts of the art and science of fact investigation.

The course I started to teach in the early 1990s was an overtly experimental one. The course evolved over the years. As the years passed, I made increasing use of the evidence marshaling software (originally based on HyperCard) that David Schum and I began to develop during our joint research project. As the years went on, I continued to tinker with that software, and along the way I added a number of new stacks to represent additional methods or strategies for organizing evidence in legal settings or in anticipation of legal settings. (That software eventually acquired the moniker MarshalPlan. [If you activate this link, please use Firefox or Internet Explorer and accept the plug-in.])

In the early years the experimental course I taught attracted a decent but relatively small number of students.

In the very first years I gave the students simulated (made-up) problems to investigate. That changed: I began to ask students to investigate real-world problems.

In the early years I gave students a hefty dollop of theory. As the years passed, I still gave students dollops of theory, but I put increasing emphasis on actual investigations.

A few years after starting the course, I began to teach the course with Zachary Weiss. At that time Zach was with the Manhattan DA's office; Zach, a very good trial lawyer, devoted most of his time there to organizing and supervising investigations. Later he moved to the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York, where he continued his work in investigation.

These days I co-teach the fact investigation course with Philip Segal. Phil worked for the Wall Street Journal before going to law school. Now he runs his own investigation company.

Perhaps as a result of these various changes and developments, the course that I now co-teach with Phil is quite popular as such courses go. Last semester we had approximately 40 students in our "seminar." This semester we have approximately 50 students. I hasten to say that popularity with students is no guarantee of scholarly, professional, or pedagogical excellence. But I believe that student acceptance of our fact investigation course is some evidence and my colleagues and I have figured out ways of teaching important aspects of the art and science of fact investigation.

My claim, if valid, has great theoretical significance as well as practical significance. One of the abiding mysteries or puzzles of epistemology is where good ideas come from -- or how one acquires useful conjectures about the world as well as how one justifies one's conclusions about the world. The course in fact investigation sheds important light on that important question.

I am a slow learner. But I will go to my grave with a measure of self-satisfaction and a feeling of vindication.


The dynamic evidence page

It's here: the law of evidence on Spindle Law. See also this post and this post.