For a long time, computer scientists and logicians have noticed that law (statutes, contracts, adjudication, etc), has some similarity with formal logic and programming languages, and have approached law as a CS problem (computer scientists have used deontic logic to model legal documents, and have applied object-oriented design principles to analyse the "code" of legal documents, or have proposed how to translate legal documents into logic programs.)

One of the underlying interests of such research is the possibility of automating (parts of) law, and of writing contracts and laws as more unambiguously specified "code" (rather than semi-formal natural language).

But one of the problems with some of the earlier such CS research was that it ignored the fact that there is a complex, non-logical relation between legal concepts and the real world. For example, to decide whether a certain course of action by a person was "reasonable", cannot be decided on the basis of pure formal logic, yet it does have practical legal meaning.

There have at least been some proposals to solve this using machine learning (a deep neural network might decide whether a course of action was "reasonable").

I have delved into this research for a short amount of time, but I find it hard to recognize which sources are considered respectable, or out-of-date. (e.g. there has been some criticism of a lot of the work in the 80's, but I am not sure what the view is of current computer scientists working on this).

My question is the following: What are up-to-date and respectable sources for the theoretical study of law as a computer science problem?

  • I'd prefer to read texts that recognize how there are both symbolic/logical and non-symbolic elements of law, and think seriously about this relation. But as a secondary option, I'd also be interested in landmark references that study the topic from a more narrow perspective.

  • It is not necessary for the sources to be completely formalized. i.e. relatively more conceptual work is also welcome.

  • I'd especially like to know what the landmark papers and books are on this topic.

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    $\begingroup$ I recall Dov Gabbay, a well known logician, was organizing research group to search for logical frameworks suitable for the formalization of legal documents in London King's College some 20 years ago. Searching for his name I was lucky to find a recent volume edited by Michał Araszkiewicz and Krzysztof Płeszka titled "Logic in the Theory and Practice of Lawmaking". $\endgroup$ – Dmitri Chubarov Apr 30 at 14:12

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