Visualising subsequent judicial consideration: Part Two

Last week I posted a piece that explored ways in which the subsequent judicial treatment of a case could be graphically represented in a way that helps the viewer gain a bird-eye view of the basic profile of treatment a case has received. 

My first stab at a new model was to plot subsequent consideration on a radar chart, like this:

Authority Profile D3.js Radar Chart

The data in the radar is based on material subsequent considerations of Chan Wing-Siu v The Queen [1985] AC 168, which up until the beginning of this year was the leading authority on joint criminal enterprise. The problem was that whilst the radar model succeeded in drawing an easy to digest view of Chan Wing-Siu's authority profile, it had the potential to mislead because it did not take account of the importance of the most recent type of consideration the case had received. 

In the case of Chan Wing-Siu, it had enjoyed predominantly positive treatment from the mid-1980s straight through to 2016. This, when plotted on the radar chart, gave the impression that Chan Wing-Siu was still good law. However, we know that as a result of the Supreme Court's decision in R v Jogee that this is no longer the case. 

Plotting the consideration profile over time

The radar chart cannot be used to provide a sufficiently reliable account of a case's current status in law because the importance of recent events are not easily reflected in that graphic model. The answer, therefore, is to render the graphical view of the consideration profile over time

The following chart (a static version of a d3.js timeline chart), uses the same data as the radar chart above, but arranges that data chronologically. Each consideration type (e.g. applied, explained, not followed etc) is given a lane on the chart. Each case that has subsequently considered Chan Wing-Siu is then dropped into its corresponding lane (e.g. R v Barr distinguished Chan Wing-Sium, hence it sits in the "Distinguished" lane on the chart.).

Artboard Created with Sketch. Considered Followed Approved Distinguished Not followed Disapproved Applied Adopted Explained Not applied Doubted Departed from R v Barr (1986) R v Slack (1989) R v Hyde (1989) Hui Chi-ming v The Queen (1989) R v Roberts (Kelvin) (1993) R v Stewart (Heather) (1995) R v Powell (Anthony) (1997) R v Powell (Anthony) (1997) R v Rahman (2009) R v Jogee (2016)

The timeline chart is effective at demonstrating the clear run Chan Wing-Siu enjoyed until it was kicked into touch by the Supreme Court in R v Jogee.  There may be a case for collapsing the empty lanes to focus the graphic on the active consideration types, but all in all, I think the timeline does the job well.

To my knowledge, none of the legal databases (certainly in the UK) adopt this approach to mapping subsequent judicial consideration. If, I'm wrong about that, please let me know in the comments section below. 

If, on the other hand, I'm right that this method hasn't been employed before, then this is one of those head-slapping moments.