Third Annual Codex Prize Honors Pioneering Researchers in ‘Legal Argumentation Theory’

STANFORD, CA, APRIL 13, 2023 – CodeX – The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics announced the recipients of its third annual CodeX Prize at today’s CodeX FutureLaw 2023 Conference. For 11 years, the FutureLaw conference has brought together “the community that is shaping the future of law”—researchers, engineers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, investors, and policy makers—for a full day of panel discussions, workshops, and idea-sharing.

The 2023 CodeX Prize Winners

The CodeX Prize is an annual award given to an individual or group for a noteworthy contribution to computational law—an idea, article, book, computer application, computer tool, or organization that has had a significant and enduring positive impact on the field. This year’s CodeX Prize was awarded jointly to three academic researchers from three different countries who have collaborated for decades on legal argumentation theory. Their areas of research broadly impact on how artificial intelligence can be leveraged in the formulation of sophisticated legal arguments. 

2023 CodeX Prize Winners (from left to right) Henry Prakken, Giovanni Sartor, and Trevor Bench-Capon

The joint winners are Henry Prakken from the Netherlands, a senior lecturer in the intelligent systems group of the computer science department at Utrecht University and a professor of legal informatics and legal argumentation at the University of Groningen; Giovanni Sartor of Italy, a professor in legal informatics at the University of Bologna and professor in legal informatics and legal theory at the European University Institute of Florence; and Trevor Bench-Capon, a retired computer science professor from the University of Liverpool in England.

Bench-Capon said the three researchers have been sharing ideas and collaborating since 1991. “Since then, we have met regularly and had many fruitful discussions about AI and law. We are all interested in argumentation, but come from different backgrounds and have different emphases, which has made our interaction especially fruitful.”

“These three influential scholars are true pioneers in the field of AI and law,” said Codex-affiliated faculty member Harry Surden, who presented the award. “Their groundbreaking work has not only reshaped our understanding of legal argumentation, it has transformed the way we think about legal reasoning and argument more broadly, and set a foundation for future advancements in artificial intelligence and law.”

The CodeX Award was announced in a short ceremony during the FutureLaw conference.

11th Annual FutureLaw Conference

This year’s conference featured panels on a range of topics at the cutting edge of law and technology. 

Codex Fellow and Senior Advisor at the Stanford Law School Center on the Legal Profession Ralph Baxter (AB ’68) focused on access-to-justice issues in his keynote titled “Dereliction of Duty.” He discussed “one of the most obvious causes of the access-to-justice crisis: rules created and enforced by lawyer-led state bars that arbitrarily restrict who can help Americans with their legal issues and handcuff legal-service firms’ ability to draw on modern technology and business techniques to get Americans the service they need.”

Codex Fellow Pablo Arredondo (JD ’05) and Codex-affiliated faculty member Daniel Martin Katz teamed up for a panel titled “Enough Chit-ChatGPT: Next Generation NLP Techniques and How to Use Them.” Arrendo and Katz, along with Codex faculty member Michael Bommarito, recently published a paper detailing how GPT-4, the new multimodal deep learning model from OpenAI, passed the Uniform Bar Exam with a score that put it in the 90th percentile of human test takers. 

SLS Associate Professor Julian Nyarko spoke about his ongoing findings relating to “Disparities in Police Crime Reports on Social Media.”

Other panels focused on topics such as “Eco Coins and Nature-Based Currencies,” “A Legal Informatics Approach to Aligning Artificial Intelligence with Humans,” and “Government Relationship Management: Revolutionizing the Interaction Between Citizen and Government.”

About CodeX

CodeX – The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics is jointly operated by Stanford Law School (SLS) and the Stanford Computer Science Department. CodeX‘s emphasis is on the research and development of computational law, the branch of legal informatics concerned with the mechanization of legal reasoning. The center allows researchers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and technologists to work side by side to advance the frontier of legal technology, bringing new levels of legal efficiency, transparency, and access to legal systems around the world. 

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective, and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.