This is a LegalHack@OKCon 2013 challenge

Case Success

Every case is unique.

It is often difficult for a lawyer to answer one of the most pressing question of his client: What are my chances of success if we go to court (or if I plea non-guilty)? The challenge is to provide lawyers and clients with an accurate base rate of success or average amount for a similar claim. At the end of the day, the decision is always taken by a judge on the basis of the evidence and arguments in front of him. However, when you have a database of thousands of these decisions, you can start seeing trends and probablities.

Law case databases like CanLii from Canada (also see Beta Site) offer exhaustive decisions from a certain court for a certain period of times. What kind of metadata would allow easily to compile such statistics?

Example use cases:

  • Criminal law: What is the success rate of a right to self-defense strategy in case of assault? What is the average sentence? How many cases go to appeal?
  • Civil law: What is the base rate of success for a (dommage-intérêts) claim in case of property damages caused by a dog? In case of success, what is the average amount of damages granted by the judge?
  • Building trust: clients of lawyers could take more well-advised decisions when it comes to “should we try to settle out of court or not” (for civil law cases).
  • Research: it can be extremely valuable for policy-makers and researchers to have the ability to easily cross reference a large amount of case data.

Hackathon goals

  1. Create a database with parties names, status (plaintiff or defendant) and the result (who won the case);
  2. Push the database forward by including the amount of the claim and the result;
  3. Create a website where the user can query his chances of success;

We could start with these three goals regarding one specific legal action (example: civil liability claims for damages caused by an animal) in front of a specific jurisdiction (example: Cour du Québec). If the goals are too easy, the ultimate goal would be to extend to multiple legal actions or multiple jurisdictions.

Project

(screenshots or sketches up here)

Brief description of your hackday results goes here. Add sections below if you need more room.

Include links to your demo and/or source code.

Data

  • Add any data sources you end up using in this project.

Team

  • Jean-Francois Ouellette
  • Relevant documentation …
  • Blog or forum posts …
  • Tools you used …