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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77919 Find in a Library
Title: Uncertainty, Decisions and Information Systems - Elements in the Legal Decision Process Introducing Uncertainty and Their Relation to Legal Information Systems
Journal: Law/Technology  Volume:13  Issue:4  Dated:(4th Quarter, 1980)  Pages:18-43
Author(s): J Bing
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 26
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper discusses uncertain elements in the legal decisionmaking process and describes a legal decisionmaking model that incorporates a model of a user-related legal information system.
Abstract: The first task of the lawyer is to identify the legal problem in the client's situation. When the lawyer has described the problem as a set of facts, the search begins for the legal norms which govern the problem. Legal sources relevant to the problem are obtained. In a simplified model of the legal decisionmaking process, some factors contributing to uncertainty may be identified. First, in the process of refining the problem into a set of facts, lawyers may disagree upon what facts are relevant and the degree to which they must be supported by proof. Second, because lawyers have access to individually constructed information systems, different sources may be obtained. Third, in the process of constructing relevant legal norms, differences may be disclosed as to what sources actually are relevant, what arguments may be derived from these sources, and what weight these arguments carry. Errors may also be caused by malfunctions of information systems. The paper suggests that an improved information system would reduce uncertainty in two respects: it would even out the differences in availability between different lawyers and improve retrieval tools and it would make retrieval of relevant sources more efficient. Three figures, 3 footnotes, and 19 references are included.
Index Term(s): Attorneys; Decisionmaking; Information Systems and Technology; Lawsuits; Legal research; Models
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