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25 Sep 13 04:12

Legal information is relevant to all of us. “Ignorantia juris non excusat”, ignorance of the law does not excuse, even if we do not know about a law, it still applies. But laws are lengthy and sometimes complex. Means to increase the efficiency of reading a legal text are cruelly lacking. This is to increase the likelihood the meaning of the code will be understood (or at least outlined), to increase the speed of understanding and analyzing the code as well as to increase the speed of informing others of the code (e.g. a lawyer advising a client).

The "Legal Mining Hackathon" that took place at the OKCon has focused on all sorts of open legal texts, such as statutes (as made available by governments), agreements (as made available by authorities, private entities or service terms and conditions -SLAs), as well as case law (as made available by courts).

The objective of the hackathon was to find methods for reducing the complexity of understanding legal texts, investigate open source methods to visualize legal texts based on established classifications, using open knowledge to work with legal code as well as to determine the most helpful approaches to classify legal texts. And, hopefully, to find new ways of bridging the huge gap between legal code and people.

A selection of some projects realised during the hackathon:

Open Law Search:
This project aims to make the everyday work of law practitioners easier by making valuable resources on the Open Web easier to find. Users can search by region, type, filetype, and tags across a variety of domains especially relevant to European law.

Case Law as a Service (CLaaS):
Many legal decisions, or case results, on national and international levels are available online – but are not accessible enough. The aims was here to create an open framework and platform architecture that allows users and diverse applications easy access to case law data. Concepts, designs, live demos and visualizations have been developed, including Human Rights Case Laws, Case Law Linked Data, open search engine for the Swiss Supreme Court.

Open This Data!:
A simple idea with an aim to help lift legal and technical restrictions on data, and get rapid community response to changes of terms of use. The Open Data Button is an easy, social way to share the fact that you are prevented from accessing data in some way.

Open Privacy Legislation:
Taking data protection and privacy legislation as a case study, this team assessed a range of government websites and rated them according to criteria from the Declaration of Parliamentary Openness.

All results can be found here here. » Law Mining Hackathon 2013

At past Swiss Open Data Camps we had a few ideas around the theme of open legal data, while constantly exploring the boundaries of what we can legally do with data.

Category: Other

Location: Geneva, Switzerland


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