In this article I discuss a network analytic approach to the internal structure of German laws and regulations, as well as the need for lowering entry barriers to the field. To assist beginners with their first forays into legal network analysis, I provide structural information for almost all German laws and regulations as part of the ‘Corpus des Deutschen Bundesrechts (C-DBR)’. This structural information is available in the widely used GraphML format and includes pre-computed visual representations for initial orientation.
I discuss the advantages and disadvantages of five different kinds of hierarchical graph visualizations (classical dendrogram, two types of circular dendrogram, circle packing and sunburst diagrams) and provide step-by-step instructions to import structural legal data from the C-DBR into graphical analysis software such as GEPHI. I conclude with a detailed breakdown of my methodology and links to the original open source code in the R programming language.