Lunch seminar with Fabien Tarissan

Unravelling the complexity of legal decisions with network science.

Do case citations reflect the “real” importance of individual judgments for the legal system concerned? This question has long been puzzling empirical legal scholars. Existing research typically studies case citation networks as a whole, applying traditional metrics stemming from graph theory. Those approaches usually focus on degree-related properties to quantify the important of a judgment.

In this presentation, I will argue that although the number of citation is indeed an indicator of importance, it is not the unique way for a case to influence future judgments. I will try to sketch the different profiles landmark cases can have by taking into account the two-level structures induced by the citations. Indeed, judgments refer to previous judgments but also to articles of law, domains of law, etc. By exploiting these elements, one can track in particular how versatile a case is and measure its effect in terms of diffusion.

To illustrate this approach, I will present recent results obtained in a series of empirical studies conducted on three different jurisdictions: the ICC, the CJUE and the ECtHR. Those studies show how different properties can provide complementary points of view that are essential to obtain a comprehensive picture of case importance.

All interested are welcome to attend. Registration is not necessary.