To compare court decisions in a systematic way, it is typically necessary to first read these decisions and then apply legal methods to them. Measurement models that support analysts in this manual labor usually rely on judges’ voting records. Since these data are often not available, we instead propose a latent-variable model that uses the widely available references in court decisions to measure the decisions’ latent position in their common case-space. We showcase our model in the context of forum shopping and forum selling of Germany’s lower courts.
Published in The Journal of Law and Courts