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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Developing conceptual frameworks for structuring legal knowledge to build knowledge-based systems Deedman, Galvin Charles


This dissertation adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the field of law and artificial intelligence. It argues that the conceptual structuring of legal knowledge within an appropriate theoretical framework is of primary importance when building knowledge-based systems. While technical considerations also play a role, they must take second place to an in-depth understanding of the law. Two alternative methods of structuring legal knowledge in very different domains are used to explore the thesis. A deep-structure approach is used on nervous shock, a rather obscure area of the law of negligence. A script-based method is applied to impaired driving, a well-known part of the criminal law. A knowledge-based system is implemented in each area. The two systems, Nervous Shock Advisor (NSA) and Impaired Driving Advisor (IDA), and the methodologies they embody, are described and contrasted. In light of the work undertaken, consideration is given to the feasibility of lawyers without much technical knowledge using general-purpose tools to build knowledge-based systems for themselves.

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