The Case Law of the Italian Constitutional Court
between Network Theory and Philosophy of Information
TOMM ASO AGN OLO NI, UG O PAGAL LO∗
SUMM ARY:1. Introduction – 2. Constr uction of the Constitutional Case Law Citation
Network – 3. Legal Networks and Their Information – 3.1. Paradigm Shifts – 3.2.
Legal Transplants – 4. Conclusions
1. INT RODU CTI ON
Over the past decade work on network analysis and the law has become
increasingly popular among scholars. This research includes (not only but
also) jurisprudence, legislation and how academic studies quote each other.
Here, focus is on the case law of the Italian Constitutional Court and its own
citation network. Sect. 2 explains how we built this latter network, so as to
illustrate some of its most relevant properties. Sect. 3 deepens these results
in terms of information. By distinguishing three levels of analysis, i.e. legal
information “for” reality, “as” reality, and “about” reality, special attention
is drawn to matters of knowledge and concepts that inform us about the dif-
ferent states of the world and frame the representation and function of the
legal system which is under scrutiny. The conclusions indicate the next steps
of our research.
2. CON STRUCTI ON OF THE CO NST ITU TIO NAL CA SE LAW CITATI ON
In 2013 the Italian Constitutional Court released as open data the com-
plete datasets of the rulings it has delivered from its origin in 1956 onwards.
According tothe open data principles, data are released in open format (XML)
and with an open license (CC-BY-SA-3.0). Documents are annotated with a
rich set of machine readable metadata of different nature (bibliographic, tem-
poral, semantic, legal). Furthermore, the availability of the entire documen-
tal corpus allows the application in bulk of processing tools to plain texts for
additional information extraction and dataset enrichment.
∗T. Agnoloni is researcherat the Ins tituteof Legal Information Theor y and Techniques
ITTIG - CNR. U. Pagallo is full professor of Philosophyof Law at Turin Law School, Uni-
versity of Turin.
Edizioni Scientiﬁche Italiane ISSN 0390-0975