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Using machine learning to create a repository of judgments concerning a new practice area: a case study in animal protection law

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March, Samuel 


jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pJudgments concerning animals have arisen across a variety of established practice areas. There is, however, no publicly available repository of judgments concerning the emerging practice area of animal protection law. This has hindered the identification of individual animal protection law judgments and comprehension of the scale of animal protection law made by courts. Thus, we detail the creation of an initial animal protection law repository using natural language processing and machine learning techniques. This involved domain expert classification of 500 judgments according to whether or not they were concerned with animal protection law. 400 of these judgments were used to train various models, each of which was used to predict the classification of the remaining 100 judgments. The predictions of each model were superior to a baseline measure intended to mimic current searching practice, with the best performing model being a support vector machine (SVM) approach that classified judgments according to term frequency—inverse document frequency (TF-IDF) values. Investigation of this model consisted of considering its most influential features and conducting an error analysis of all incorrectly predicted judgments. This showed the features indicative of animal protection law judgments to include terms such as ‘welfare’, ‘hunt’ and ‘cull’, and that incorrectly predicted judgments were often deemed marginal decisions by the domain expert. The TF-IDF SVM was then used to classify non-labelled judgments, resulting in an initial animal protection law repository. Inspection of this repository suggested that there were 175 animal protection judgments between January 2000 and December 2020 from the Privy Council, House of Lords, Supreme Court and upper England and Wales courts.</jats:p>



4802 Environmental and Resources Law, 48 Law and Legal Studies, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, Networking and Information Technology R&D (NITRD)

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Artificial Intelligence and Law

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC