15th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence
  July 21-26 2002     Lyon     France  

ECAI-2002 Conference Paper

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CLIME: Lessons Learned in Legal Information Serving

Radboud Winkels, Alexander Boer, Rinke Hoekstra

This paper presents lessons learned from the CLIME project (1998-2001), aimed at improving the access and understanding of large bodies of legal information through the internet. Our approach involves explicit representation of the 'content' of the legal sources consisting of three types of knowledge: (1) the domain being regulated (a domain ontology); (2) normative statements about the domain; (3) resolution mechanisms when normative statements conflict (meta knowledge). The 'Legal Information Server' (LIS) provides both Conceptual Retrieval (CR) and Normative Assessment (NA) on these knowledge structures, given a user's input case. We found that, in contrast to 'traditional' knowledge systems, cases put to a LIS are often incomplete and not at the right (most specific) level of detail. Therefore we do not only offer a normative judgement based on applicable norms, but also potential exceptions. These exceptions can be (partly) computed off-line based on the representation of the legal sources. Our approach has the advantage that knowledge engineers can focus on individual norms, instead of how these may interact with other norms. Furthermore, we adopted an incremental modelling approach that shows promise. We begin with the domain ontology for CR and extend it afterwards for NA. Experiments showed a strong bootstrapping effect, speeding up modelling. Finally, we conclude that the best moment for the considerable investment of modelling regulations would be during their drafting.

Keywords: knowledge-based systems, ontologies, information retrieval, reuse of knowledge

Citation: Radboud Winkels, Alexander Boer, Rinke Hoekstra: CLIME: Lessons Learned in Legal Information Serving. In F. van Harmelen (ed.): ECAI2002, Proceedings of the 15th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, IOS Press, Amsterdam, 2002, pp.230-234.

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ECAI-2002 is organised by the European Coordinating Committee for Artificial Intelligence (ECCAI) and hosted by the UniversitÚ Claude Bernard and INSA, Lyon, on behalf of Association Franšaise pour l'Intelligence Artificielle.