Excerpt from specification:
When a trial according to the above disclosed processes is conducted, a decision is reached and a judicial opinion written. Since, in a common law system, judicial opinions have the force of law, poorly written and poorly reasoned opinions serve to impede rather than promote the ends of a just society. So as to maximize the likelihood of judicial opinions being written at an acceptable level of quality, a universal judicial opinion submission form and Universal Judicial Opinion (UJO) process are disclosed in FIGS. 39 and 40A.
Depending upon governmental structure, the legislature or high court establishes 4000 a rule requiring that judicial opinions conform to the disclosed process. Thereafter, pursuant to this rule, a court makes a decision 4001 in a particular case, and a judge, whether writing as sole judge in the matter or as the selected writer for the majority (or concurring group or dissenting group) of a panel of judges, logs 4002 into a UJO site, a state-funded Internet-accessible electronic site, and indicates 4003 that he or she wishes to submit a new opinion for a specified case. A new record is then created 4004 in an opinion database, which record can be related to a record in a separate cases database so that all opinions pertaining to a single case or controversy remain related.
Once the opinion writer has entered information uniquely identifying the case for which the opinion is to be written, he or she navigates to the “Universal Judicial Opinion Entry Form” 3901 in FIG. 39. This form presents several data entry fields into which the writer can enter a holding 3902, a subsidiary conclusion 3903, a legal premise 3904 to be applied, and a factual premise 3905 that triggers application of a legal premise in the particular case at issue. Links are also provided which the writer can click 4005 so as to add as many additional data entry fields as necessary, including a link 3906 to add a legal premise field, a link 3907 to add a factual premise field, a link 3908 to add a subsidiary conclusion field, a link 3909 to add a holding field, and a link to add 3910 a dicta field (available, but use is discouraged). A pop-up menu 3911 is also provided through which the writer can indicate his or her orientation to the court’s decision, e.g., writing for the majority, dissenting, or concurring in part. Using this form, the writer then crafts element by element an argument demonstrating the reasoning the court used in order to reach the decision it reached (if writing for the majority), how a different decision should have been reached (if dissenting), or how the same decision should have been reached by different reasoning (if concurring).
Once the judicial opinion is complete, the writer submits 4006 the opinion by clicking the “Submit Opinion” button. The opinion is then stored in the opinions database record, along with time-stamping information, and processed according to rules of the court.
So as to provide an easy mechanism for storing such texts that have the force of law and so as to maximize the accessibility of law to the citizens subject to it, a legal markup language (LML) is disclosed in FIG. 40B. Sentences and clauses of a judicial opinion, entered field by field as described above, or a statute are tagged with LML tags such as those depicted; opening and closing tags are shown for judicial opinions include a “holding” tag (<holding>), a “subsidiary conclusion” tag (<subsidiary conclusion>), a “legal premise” (<premise law>), and others; tags for codified law include those shown, such as a “statute number” tag (<statute number>) and a “statute language” tag. So as to facilitate transition from conventional methods of citing legal authority–whether those of private publishers or “vendor-neutral citations” –to the disclosed ULD method (below), a “traditional citation” tag (<traditional citation>) is also shown.
see also: Argument Markup Language
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