Publication details

Exploring the Relation between the Indegree Centrality and Authority Score of a Decision and the Reason for which it was Cited: A Case Study

Authors

SMEJKALOVÁ Terezie NOVOTNÁ Tereza

Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Law

Citation
Web https://journals.muni.cz/mujlt/article/view/14002/12352
Doi http://dx.doi.org/10.5817/MUJLT2021-2-4
Keywords Judicial Decision; Centrality; Network Analysis; Citation Analysis; Normative Nature of Case Law
Description Some of the recent network citation analyses conducted in continental legal settings have suggested that the most cited decisions tend to be related to procedural issues, or issues of a more general nature. Such decisions are by nature capable of being referred to in a more varied situations, therefore scoring high in indegree centrality or authority score. While it may seem intuitive that decisions with the highest indegree centrality or authority score would settle issues of a more general nature, hence making them more widely applicable to various kinds of subsequent cases, we were wondering, whether this trend would be noticeable in less exposed decisions. To this end, we have conducted a case study within the boundaries of the Czech legal system. We have chosen five decisions containing a chosen keyword based on their indegree centrality in a corpus ofCzech apex courts’ decisions. Subsequently, we haveconstructed eleven chains ofdecisions (connected toone another byacitation)leading tothese five decisions, again paying attention totheir indegree. We theorize that the decisions with higher indegree centrality as well as decisions with higher authority score will be cited in situations seeking a case-law argument for either procedural issue, or an issue of amore general nature, or an issue of principle, while the decisions with low indegree centrality or low authority score will be cited for their substantive law merit. This paper seeks to demonstrate how the network analysis in combination with a qualitative approach may serve as a useful method in further exploring this hypothesis. We show that the actual citation environment inCzech legal setting might be more complex than this hypothesis suggests and that this methodological approach may be further useful in exploring the normative nature of judicial decisions in non-precedential legal settings.
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