Dolin: Inconsistency Robustness and the Law: A Random Walk

Ron Dolin of Stanford Law School has posted slides of his presentation entitled Inconsistency Robustness and the Law: A Random Walk, given at the conference, Inconsistency Robustness 2014, held 29-31 July 2014 at Stanford University.

The presentation describes several types of inconsistency and indeterminacy in the law, and explores various ways of coping with legal inconsistency and indeterminacy, including by means of legal expert systems and statistical methods.

HT @LegalNoise

Posted in Applications, Policy debates, Presentations, Slides, Technology developments, Technology tools | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Call for participation: COLIEE-14: Competition on Legal Information Extraction/Entailment

A call for participation has been issued for COLIEE-14: Competition on Legal Information Extraction/Entailment, to be held 23-24 November 2014 in conjunction with JURISIN 2014 at Keio University Kanagawa.

Here is a description of the competition:

As an associated event of JURISIN 2014, we are happy to announce a competition of legal information extraction and entailment derived from Japanese bar exams. We hope that the 2014 workshop will help establish a major experimental effort in the legal information extraction/retrieval field. The motivation for the competition is to help create a research community of practice for the capture and use of legal information.

There are two tasks in the competition; One is to extract articles from Japanese civil code which contributes to solving a bar exam yes/no question and the other is to check entailment of a question from given civil code article(s). If we could combine these methods, we could solve a bar exam question as a whole. Detailed description can be found in the above url.

All the data are available both in Japanese and English (translation from Japanese bar exams and civil code). And you can choose either (or both) of them to accomplish the above tasks.

As noted above, the intention is to start to build a community of practice regarding legal textual entailment, so that the adoption and adaptation of general methods from a variety of fields is considered, and that participants share their approaches, problems, and results.

We require participants to submit a paper on their method and experimental results using training corpus to JURISIN 2014 workshop in accordance with an instruction specified at and to present the paper at the special session of JURISIN 2014.

These papers will be reviewed in the same way of usual submission to JURISIN 2014 and an extended version could be submitted to an LNAI post-proceeding of JSAI-IsAI2014 (the name of symposium in which JURISIN 2014 is included). The selected paper will be published in the LNAI post-proceedings.

Important dates:

July 21, 2014 Training corpus Available

Aug 21, 2014 Test queries available.

Aug 28, 2014 Results submission deadline.

Sep 10, 2014 Paper submission deadline.

Nov 23-24,2014 JURISIN 2014 Workshop and assessments returned to participants [...]

For application details and more information, please see the complete call.

HT Anne Gardner

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Call for papers: JURISIN 2014: International Workshop on Juris-informatics

The call for papers has been issued for JURISIN 2014: International Workshop on Juris-informatics, being held 23-24 November 2014, at Keio University Kanagawa.

The submission deadline is 10 September 2014.

Papers are invited on topics including:

  • Model of legal reasoning
  • Argumentation / Negotiation / Argumentation agent
  • Legal term ontology
  • Formal legal knowledge-base / Intelligent management of legal knowledge-base
  • Translation of legal documents
  • Information retrieval of legal texts
  • Computer-aided law education
  • Use of Informatics and AI in law
  • Legal issues on ubiquitous computing / multi-agent system / the Internet
  • Social implications of use of informatics and AI in law
  • Natural language processing for legal knowledge
  • Verification and validation of legal knowledge systems
  • Any theories and technologies which is not directly related with juris-informatics but has a potential to contribute to this domain

For more details, please see the conference Website.

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Hagan and Kimbro: Access Hub Project: Designing new resources for legal service providers

Margaret Hagan has a new post about her and Stephanie Kimbro‘s project: The Access Hub Project: Designing new resources for legal service providers.

Here are excerpts from the post:

I’ve been working alongside Steph Kimbro to do some scoping & groundwork for an Access Hub design — that would be a resource for legal service providers (in self-help & legal aid centers) interested in integrating tech into their practice, & learning best practices for more efficient & quality services. [...]

Steph received an initial ambit through the ABA’s Blueprint Project to create a participatory online platform, which would allow people working in the world of Access to Justice to pull together resources, share ideas, and create a repository of knowledge of what kind of projects have worked (and which ones have failed) in the A2J and legal aid space.

[...] [W]e began with defining ‘use cases’ — to identify what stakeholders were most central to the project, and what functions an Access Hub would help them accomplish. [...]

After which, Steph whittled down to a main use case:

legal aid managers, who direct an access-oriented legal organization, who want to share & seek best practices about service delivery & also are considering integrating more tech into their practice to increase efficiency & quality


User Requirements for an Access Hub:

  • Easy to access & non-obtrusive [...]
  • Not ‘another frikkin website’ [...]
  • Interactivity is key [...]
  • Customization to local context [...]
  • Give out-of-the-box usable resources [...]
  • Maintenance must be baked in [...]

[...] [W]e’ll be focused in the next month on drafting possible prototypes of an Access Hub. [...]

This project [...] will be aimed mainly at the Legal Service Provider as the main stakeholder, to empower her & help her improve her daily workflow and quality of service.

Below, please find some of my sketches that I’ve been working on — with more developed designs to appear here over the next month.

If you have some experience in this area & have ideas for prototypes, design choices, user/system requirements, or otherwise — please leave feedback or write to us! [...]

To see the sketches and for more details, please see the complete post.

HT @StephKimbro

Posted in Applications, Others' scholarly or sophisticated blogposts, Projects, Technology developments, Technology tools, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Code4Italy@Montecitorio Open Data Hackathon 2014: Video, storify, and resources

Code4Italy@Montecitorio Open Data Hackathon 2014 was held 16-18 May 2014, with an award ceremony on 24 July 2014, at the Italian Chamber of Deputies in Rome.

The event Website, which includes the program, participant descriptions, and links to data sets, is at:

Video of the award ceremony is available at:

The Twitter hashtag for the event was #code4italy

A storify of photos and Twitter tweets from the event is at:

According to the video page, the three projects honored at the awards ceremony were:

Here is a description of the event, from the event’s Website:

L’Hackathon Code4Italy@Montecitorio 2014 è un evento rivolto ad esperti di informatica – sviluppatori di software e grafici web – interessati a conoscere e utilizzare i dati aperti prodotti dalla Camera dei deputati relativi alla istituzione e alla attività parlamentare.

L’obiettivo dell’iniziativa è aumentare la conoscenza dei dati aperti parlamentari, che la Camera dei deputati ha messo a disposizione del web già a partire dal 2011, e promuoverne il riuso da parte della comunità degli sviluppatori e di soggetti interessati, offrendo un’occasione per proporre e realizzare applicazioni con essi, e dando seguito all’invito già rivolto nel sito a proporre applicazioni riutilizzando gli Open Data pubblicati.

L’Hackathon, come avviene di consueto per analoghi eventi, si è svolto in forma competitiva e collaborativa.
Prima della fase di sviluppo di software, è stata prevista una sessione di formazione, dedicata a chi vuole lavorare sui dataset offerti dalla Camera dei deputati, e una fase di presentazione dei progetti per la realizzazione di applicazioni, dando l’opportunità ai partecipanti di tenere un proprio pitch (proposta) per illustrare come i servizi da loro ideati andrebbero a integrarsi con il lavoro dei parlamentari e dello staff, e come in generale l’uso di smart device con applicativi di questo tipo può aiutare anche la società civile a comprendere meglio l’iter parlamentare.

Ai partecipanti è stato consentito sia di collaborare e organizzare le attività in gruppi di lavoro, sia terminare e rifinire gli sviluppi nella successiva settimana, consegnando le soluzioni entro tale termine.
I prodotti consegnati, consistenti in applicazioni basate sul riuso degli Open Data della Camera, sono stati valutati da una Commissione giudicatrice appositamente costituita, che ha individuato i primi tre progetti classificati meritevoli di premio. [...]

Click here for information about other legal hackathons.

HT @monicapalmirani

Posted in Applications, Conference resources, Data sets, Hackathons, Hacking, Storify, Technology developments, Technology tools, Videos | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Katz, Bommarito, and Blackman: Predicting the Behavior of the Supreme Court of the United States: A General Approach

Daniel Martin Katz, Michael Bommarito, and Josh Blackman have posted a working paper entitled Predicting the Behavior of the Supreme Court of the United States: A General Approach.

Here is the abstract:

Building upon developments in theoretical and applied machine learning, as well as the efforts of various scholars including Guimerà and Sales-Pardo (2011), Ruger et al. (2004), and Martin et al. (2004), we construct a model designed to predict the voting behavior of the Supreme Court of the United States. Using the extremely randomized tree method first proposed in Geurts et al. (2006), a method similar to the random forest approach developed in Breiman (2001), as well as novel feature engineering, we predict more than sixty years of decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States (1953-2013). Using only data available prior to the date of decision, our model correctly identifies 69.7% of the Court’s overall affirm and reverse decisions and correctly forecasts 70.9% of the votes of individual justices across 7,700 cases and more than 68,000 justice votes. Our performance is consistent with the general level of prediction offered by prior scholars. However, our model is distinctive as it is the first robust, generalized, and fully predictive model of Supreme Court voting behavior offered to date. Our model predicts six decades of behavior of thirty Justices appointed by thirteen Presidents. With a more sound methodological foundation, our results represent a major advance for the science of quantitative legal prediction and portend a range of other potential applications, such as those described in Katz (2013).

The code used in the study is available on GitHub:

HT @computational

Posted in Applications, Articles and papers, Research findings, Software | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

ZoningCheck: Zoning regulation lookup service

ZoningCheck, an online zoning regulation lookup service, has been launched by OpenCounter.

Here is a description, from the service’s About page:

ZoningCheck is a zoning lookup tool that helps business owners, real estate developers, and interested citizens quickly understand the zoning clearance of their land use. ZoningCheck aims to answer the basic but complicated question: “where is my project permitted?” [...]

ZoningCheck leverages a geospatial rules engine to calculate zoning clearances across all of the zoning districts and zoning overlays in the jurisdiction. ZoningCheck also calculates use-specific requirements—like whether a restaurant will serve alcohol, or whether a bakery will have a retail space—which can change the clearance determination of the base land use. By wrapping these calculations in a beautiful user interface, ZoningCheck provides an intuitive guide to complex zoning regulations. [...]

ZoningCheck data is imported directly from the city’s municipal code and GIS resources [...]

ZoningCheck was made possible by an investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and through the support of the Code for America Accelerator. You can learn more about our story at [...]

Alex Howard has a recent post about the service, at TechRepublic: ZoningCheck puts computable municipal codes to good use.

HT @digiphile

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