Faculty Notes

Prof. Vern Walker Publishes Articles in Opinio Juris in Comparatione, Hofstra Horizons Magazine

Vern R. Walker, Professor of Law and Director of the Research Laboratory for Law, Logic and Technology

Professor Vern R. Walker published a peer-reviewed article titled “Designing Factfinding for Cross-Border Healthcare, 3 Opinio Juris in Comparatione 1 (Dec. 2009).

The article discusses a critical problem in providing appropriate compensation for medical accidents in the context of cross-border healthcare — namely, the problem of designing and supervising the required fact-finding processes.

Numerous compensation systems in multiple jurisdictions, handling a high volume of cases, must be able to achieve outcome efficiency (neither under-compensating nor over-compensating victims), while also achieving administrative efficiency (low transaction costs). It is impossible to achieve these goals without consistent, accurate, evidence-based factfinding, particularly in an area as factually complex as medical-accident compensation.

This paper discusses a framework for producing such fact-finding without creating a centralized fact-finding institution, and provides examples of general principles, institutional structures and specific types of legal rules for evidence assessment.

Both the structure of that Program and the cases decided under it provide insights on how fact-finding can be transparent, evidence-based and coordinated, as well as (presumably) accurate, so that all potentially affected parties can be confident that the compensation system is achieving its goals.

Professor Walker also wrote an article to appear in the Fall 2010 issue of the magazine Hofstra Horizons, describing the work of Hofstra Law’s Research Laboratory for Law, Logic and Technology (LLT Lab).

In the article he explained that the LLT Lab conducts empirical research on the reasoning in legal decisions — particularly the reasoning that connects the evidence in the case to the findings of fact (usually called “fact finding”).

In conducting this research, the LLT Lab operates out of a theoretical framework, formulates and tests hypotheses, and disseminates its work products for replication and use by others. This innovative and unique program employs a faculty-and-student team approach to data generation and analysis, and integrates its research with legal education.

Moreover, the goal is not only improving legal research and education, but also having an impact on legal decision making in society. By making its work available through its website (LLTLab.org) to all participants in legal decision processes, the LLT Lab tries to increase the transparency, accuracy, efficiency, and accessibility of such decision making.