The Case for Linking World Law Data

The Case for Linking World Law Data by Sergio Puig and Enric G. Torrents.


The present paper advocates for the creation of a federated, hybrid database in the cloud, integrating law data from all available public sources in one single open access system – adding, in the process, relevant meta-data to the indexed documents, including the identification of social and semantic entities and the relationships between them, using linked open data techniques and standards such as RDF. Examples of potential benefits and applications of this approach are also provided, including, among others, experiences from of our previous research, in which data integration, graph databases and social and semantic networks analysis were used to identify power relations, litigation dynamics and cross-references patterns both intra and inter-institutionally, covering most of the World international economic courts.

From the conclusion:

We invite any individual and organization to join in and participate in this open endeavor, to shape together this project, Neocodex, aspiring to replicate the impact that Justinian’s Corpus Juris Civilis, the original Codex, had in the legal systems of the Early Middle Ages.

Yes, well, I can’t say the authors lack for ambition. 😉

As you know, the Corpus Juris Civilis has heavily influenced the majority of legal jurisdictions today. (Civil Law)

Do be mindful that the OASIS Legal Citation Markup (LegalCiteM) TC is having its organizational meeting on 12th February 2014, in case you are interested in yet another legal citation effort.

Why anyone thinks we need another legal citation system, that leaves the previous one on the cutting room floor, is beyond me.

Yes, a new legal citation system might be non-proprietary, royalty-free, web-based, etc., but without picking up current citation practices, it will also be dead on arrival (DOA).

3 Responses to “The Case for Linking World Law Data”

  1. […] Another Word For It Patrick Durusau on Topic Maps and Semantic Diversity « The Case for Linking World Law Data […]

  2. Enric G. Torrents says:

    Dear Sir, you missed the point. That paper is not about creating any kind of new citation system whatsoever. What it mentions is the need to implement common standards for the semantic web, based on common standards and recommendations by institutions such as the WC3, the European Commission, and many others. It describes an ongoing open collaboration between a growing number of professors, researchers and other individuals in the field of law and legal informatics, related to the opening-up, analysis and betterment of justice systems worldwide. So far the initiative is backed by the Open Science Data Cloud (Open Cloud Consortium, with members such as Yahoo!, Cisco,…) and the Open Knowledge Foundation. The project is indeed ambitious, and will require the collaboration of many, but it is also relevant and necessary. Please feel free to send us your feedback and/or get engaged, if interested. In any case, many thanks for your reference.

  3. Patrick Durusau says:

    Enric, Thanks for the comment.

    I think we may be talking past each other. My concern is with the fate of existing citation systems. It is all well and good to talk about new non-proprietary systems, but what of the existing proprietary systems?

    My mention of the Corpus Juris Civilis wasn’t an accident. Louisiana (a state in the United States) is the only civilian jurisdiction in the United States and while not cited often, it does appear from time to time. (I was a lawyer in Louisiana for a decade before taking a graduate degree in ancient languages but that’s another story.)

    The law, at least as I experienced it, is deeply bound to decisions, discussions and commentaries, all of which exist in current citation systems, many of which are proprietary. Assuming that some new web-based citation system is created, how do I access material that is inconsistent with the new approach?

    I don’t think you intend to add to existing citations yet another citation, so that older material can be cited in the new way. Yes?

    I wasn’t questioning the support the project has, but support or not, unless the continuum of the legal tradition is maintained, I don’t see any reason why it would be used.