THE RISE AND FALL OF THE LEGAL EXPERT SYSTEM

Philip Leith

Abstract


Those very few of us who were critical of the rise of legal expert systems in the early 1980s probably wonder, in idle moments, whether there is a possibility of rejuvenation of an approach which was once multi¬various and is now obscure and esoteric. Is it possible that after rising and falling, that legal expert system research programme could rise again? What were the conditions which gave impetus to the field and could they be repeated? In this article I want to return, with a personal viewpoint, on the rise of expert systems and why – despite their failure – the appeal of commoditising legal expertise continues to allure the unwary.

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