As courts strive to simultaneously remain self-consistent and adapt to new legal challenges, a complex network of of citations between decided cases is established. Using network science methods to analyze the underlying patterns of citations between cases can help us understand the large-scale mechanisms which shape the judicial system. Here, we use the case-to-case citation structure of the Court of Justice of the European Union to examine this question. Using a link-prediction model, we show that over time the complex network of citations evolves in a way which improves our ability to predict new citations. Investigating the factors which enable prediction over time, we find that the content of the case documents plays a decreasing role, whereas both the predictive power and significance of the citation network structure itself show a consistent increase over time. Finally, our analysis enables us to validate existing citations and recommend potential citations for future cases within the court.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported a Young Investigator Grant (High Resolution Networks) and a Synergy Grant (Nation Scale Social Networks) from the Villum Foundation.
© 2021, The Author(s).