Document Type


Publication Date



This paper presents a semantic analysis for mining arguments or reasoning from the evidence assessment portions (fact-finding portions) of adjudicatory decisions in law. Specifically, we first decompose the reasoning into primary branches, using a rule tree of the substantive issues to be decided. Within each branch, we further decompose argumentation using two main categories: reasoning that deploys special legal rules and reasoning that does not. With respect to special legal rules, we discuss legal presumption rules, sufficiency-of-evidence rules, and the benefit- of-the-doubt rule. Semantic anchors for this decomposition are provided by identifying the inferential roles of sentences – principally evidence sentences, finding-of-fact sentences, evidence-based-reasoning sentences, and legal-rule sentences. We illustrate our methodology throughout the paper, using data and examples from a data set of veterans’ disability claims in the U.S. for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Included in

Law Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.