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Category Archives: Courts

LegalRuleML Core Specification Version 1.0

Oasis Open: “…Legal texts, e.g. legislation, regulations, contracts, and case law, are the source of norms, guidelines, and rules. As text, it is difficult to exchange specific information content contained in the texts between parties, to search for and extract structured the content from the texts, or to automatically process it further. Legislators, legal practitioners, and business managers are, therefore, impeded from comparing, contrasting, integrating, and reusing the contents of the texts, since any such activities are manual. In the current web-enabled context, where innovative eGovernment and eCommerce applications are increasingly deployed, it has become essential to provide machine-readable forms (generally in XML) of the contents of the text. In providing such forms, the general norms and specific procedural rules in legislative documents, the conditions of services and business rules in contracts, and the information about arguments and interpretation of norms in the judgments for case-law would be amenable to such applications. The ability to have proper and expressive conceptual, machine-readable models of the various and multifaceted aspects of norms, guidelines, and general legal knowledge is a key factor for the development and deployment of successful applications. The LegalRuleML TC, set up inside of OASIS (www.oasis-open.org), aims to produce a rule interchange language for the legal domain. Using the representation tools, the contents of the legal texts can be structured in a machine-readable format, which then feeds further processes of interchange, comparison, evaluation, and reasoning. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Law communities have converged in the last twenty years on modeling legal norms and guidelines using logic and other formal techniques [6]. Existing methods begin with the analysis of a legal text by a Legal Knowledge Engineer, who scopes the analysis, extracts the norms and guidelines, applies models and a theory within a logical framework, and finally represents the norms using a particular formalism. In the last decade, several Legal XML standards have been proposed to represent legal texts [30] with XML-based rules (RuleML, SWRL, RIF, LKIF, etc.) At the same time, the Semantic Web, in particular Legal Ontology research combined with semantic norm extraction based on Natural Language Processing (NLP), has given a strong impetus to the modeling of legal concepts. Based on this, the work of the LegalRuleML Technical Committee will focus on three specific needs:

1      To close the gap between legal texts, which are expressed in natural language, and semantic norm modeling. This is necessary in order to provide integrated and self-contained representations of legal resources that can be made available on the Web as XML representations and so foster Semantic Web technologies such as: NLP, Information Retrieval and Extraction (IR/IE), graphical representation, as well as Web ontologies and rules.
2      To provide an expressive XML standard for modeling normative rules that satisfies legal domain requirements. This will enable use of a legal reasoning layer on top of the ontological layer, aligning with the W3C envisioned Semantic Web stack.
3      To apply the Linked Open Data approach to model raw data in the law (acts, contracts, court files, judgments, etc.) and to extend it to legal concepts and rules along with their functionality and usage. Without rules that apply to legal concepts, legal concepts constitute just a taxonomy…”

Citation Stickiness, Computer-Assisted Legal Research, and the Universe of Thinkable Thoughts

Kirschenfeld, Aaron and Chew, Alexa, Citation Stickiness, Computer-Assisted Legal Research, and the Universe of Thinkable Thoughts (April 19, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3860978 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3860978 “Legal information has been available in widespread digital format for more than forty years. In that time, law librarians have wondered whether this digital switch has changed how law students… Continue Reading

They Knew: How the U.S. Government Helped Cause the Climate Crisis

Yale Environment 360 – “James Gustave Speth has been calling for action on climate since serving in the White House in the 1970s. In an e360 interview, he talks about his new book, which chronicles how successive U.S. administrations repeatedly failed to act in response to scientists’ increasingly dire warnings. Few people have followed the… Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Continue Live Audio Streaming of Arguments Through Fall

EPIC: “The U.S. Supreme Court announced Wednesday that it will continue streaming live audio of its oral arguments at least through December of this year. The justices will also resume holding arguments in person, though the Court building will remain closed to the public. The Court’s announcement came the same day that EPIC and a… Continue Reading

Role of the Supreme Court in generating or avoiding systemic risk

Edwards, Benjamin, Supreme Risk (August 18, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3907534 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3907534 “While many have discussed the social issues that might arise because of a majority-conservative Supreme Court, one critical consequence of the current Supreme Court has been overlooked: the role of the Supreme Court in generating or avoiding systemic risk. For some time,… Continue Reading

The Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on State & Local Courts Study 2021

“A new report from the Thomson Reuters Institute looks at how the global pandemic impacted the nation’s court system around remote hearings, legal technology, case backlogs, and access to justice When the COVID-19 pandemic completely upended the world, it also upended the nation’s courts system. Courthouses closed, proceedings were halted, and judicial life came to… Continue Reading

Sequencing in Damages

Cheng, Edward K. and Guttel, Ehud and Procaccia, Yuval, Sequencing in Damages (March 7, 2021). Stanford Law Review, 74 STAN. L. REV. __ (2022 Forthcoming ), Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper No. 21-14, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3799514 “Tort law consists of multiple doctrines governing the assignment of liability and the calculation of damages.… Continue Reading

What is the Constitution Annotated?

In Custodia Legis: “For over a hundred years, the Constitution Annotated—officially The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation—has served as Congress’s Constitution of record. A Senate document, the Constitution Annotated surveys and illuminates how the Supreme Court of the United States has interpreted every provision of the Constitution throughout the nation’s… Continue Reading

Justice by Algorithm: Are Artificial Intelligence Risk Assessment Tools Biased Against Minorities?

Conklin, Michael and Wu, Jun, Justice by Algorithm: Are Artificial Intelligence Risk Assessment Tools Biased Against Minorities? (June 30, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3877686 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3877686 “This is a review of Katherine B. Forrest’s new book When Machines Can Be Judge, Jury, and Executioner. The book does an excellent job discussing issues of fairness and… Continue Reading

Text Analytics, Court Stats, and Privacy

National Center for State Court:  “A couple of weeks ago I shared some of “my problems with pending case statistics”.  Before that, I posted another note regarding an alternative for analyzing criminal justice data.  I generally try not to complain about things without having a solution in mind.  In this article, I will share a… Continue Reading

SCOTUS Interpretation of CFAA A Win for Collecting Data With Web Scraping

Center for Data Innovation: “Web scraping—the use of automated tools to extract data from websites—helps businesses, researchers, and others quickly and efficiently gather publicly available information from the Internet, such as consumer product reviews or social media posts, that would otherwise require significant labor to collect. Unfortunately, uncertainty about the legality of scraping under the… Continue Reading