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Case Law Explorer

Visualizing the network of Dutch court decisions and case citations

Image: Jeroen Bouman – ICJ – JCI hearing (CC License)

The CaseLawExplorer software provides for an easy-access tool for legal researchers that allows for the application of network analysis to Dutch court decisions.

While court decisions traditionally are manually read and analyzed in legal education, more and more analytical tools are created to assist legal scholars in the analysis of these court decisions.

For example, network analysis techniques based on court citations have shown to empirically answer relevant legal questions such as: What is the most important landmark case in a corpus of decisions? How do citation patterns change over time? Do certain courts cite different decisions? And, does this impact the outcomes of cases?

The potential of network analysis has been shown in research, but has not yet made accessible to the non-technical legal community. The CaseLawExplorer software aims at bridging this gap between available computer science techniques for law, and the non-technical legal community.

The application provides researchers (and students) a software platform that visualizes sets of Dutch court decisions as a network, where nodes represent cases and edges represent citations.

Users can navigate through the corpus, detect patterns, spot clusters of cases, and access the full case documentation of any selected case in the network. The user community consists of researchers at Maastricht University and Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, and it is currently expanded (e.g., RUG, VU). Potentially all legal researchers (and law students) in the Netherlands belong to the user community.

Participating organisations

Maastricht University
Netherlands eScience Center
Social Sciences & Humanities
Social Sciences & Humanities


Gijs van Dijck
Lead Applicant
Maastricht University
Merijn Verstraaten
Merijn Verstraaten
Lead RSE
Netherlands eScience Center
Niels  Drost
Niels Drost
Programme Manager
Netherlands eScience Center
Turgay Saba
Maastricht University
Bogdan Covrig
Maastricht University
Jasper Snel
Maastrict University

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