Ph.D. student position in Computational Law, at University of Aberdeen

A Ph.D. student research position regarding a Computational Law project at the University of Aberdeen has been posted.

The supervisor for the position is Dr. Adam Wyner.

Here are excerpts from the announcement:

Computational Law

Institution: Aberdeen University
Dept/School/Faculty: Graduate School, College of Physical Sciences
PhD Supervisor: Dr A Wyner
Co-Supervisor: Dr W Vasconcelos
Application Deadline: Applications accepted all year round
Funding Availability: PhD Funding Status Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Individuals, companies, and government organisations are governed by laws. Laws appear in legislation, regulations, and case law; advisors and lawyers work with clients to understand the laws, see that they comply, or resolve non-compliance. While it has generally been the case that there has been no computational analysis or implementation of laws, this has recently and dramatically changed. There are now many areas of the legal analysis that are open to computational techniques such as representation and reasoning with regulations in natural language, extraction of laws from legislation or regulations, compliance management tools, ontological representations, formal legal argumentation, social simulation, amongst others. The area looks to grow rapidly in the near future.

The PhD project will contribute to research on computational analysis of norms. A subtopic suitable to the student’s interests, skills, and ambitions will be selected. The research will address challenges within the subtopic and the methodology to address them. The results of the research ought to have broad application and impact.

The outcome of the project will be evaluated in terms of both performance and quality with comparisons to state-of-the-art systems.

During the project, student will also be supervised on the methodology of scientific research, experimenting, writing, presenting, team-working.

The successful applicant should have, or expect to have, an Honours Degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Computer Science. It is essential for student to have solid knowledge about one of the following disciplines of modern computer science and artificial intelligence: discrete mathematics, computational linguistics, knowledge-based systems, machine learning. It is important for the student to have basic understanding of modern database systems and distributed systems. The student should have good programming skills.

Funding Notes:
This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Computing Science. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting There is normally NO funding attached to this project, however, if an exceptional candidate is offered a position then they may be considered for a tuition fee waiver. Normally, to be considered for a fee waiver, you need a first class undergraduate degree or a masters degree with commendation or distinction (or the international equivalent). [...]

For more details and application instructions, please see the complete announcement.

HT Adam Wyner

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Call for papers: JURIX 2014: International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems

A call for papers has been posted for JURIX 2014: International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems, being held 10-12 December 2014, at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.

There are many submission deadlines, the earliest being 5 September 2014 for papers, posters, and demos. Please see the call for papers for the list of other important dates.

The Twitter hashtags for the conference appear to be #jurix2014 and #jurix14

Papers, workshops, workshop papers, posters, demos, and submissions to the doctoral consortium are invited, on the following topics:

We invite submission of original papers on the advanced management of legal information and knowledge, covering foundations, methods, tools, systems and applications. We welcome submissions belonging to one or more of the following categories:

I. Theory of AI & Law

Contributions to the theory and foundations of AI & Law. Papers should demonstrate (formal) validity, novelty and significance of the work.

  • Theoretical foundations for the use of Artificial Intelligence techniques in the legal domain;
  • Representation formalisms for legal knowledge
  • Models of legal knowledge, including concepts (legal ontologies), rules, cases, principles, values and procedures;
  • Models of legal interactions of autonomous agents and digital institutions;
  • Methods and algorithms for performing legal inference, including argumentation;

II. Technology of AI & Law

Contributions to the technological advancement of AI & Law. Papers should demonstrate quality, novelty and significance of the work, and evaluate results.

  • Technology for expressing the structure and connections of legal documents and rules, including legislative, judicial, administrative acts as well as private documents, such as contracts;
  • Technology for expressing (part of) the semantics of legal information and knowledge, including legal Open Data;
  • Technology for the large scale analysis of legal knowledge and information;
  • Technology for the verification and validation of legal knowledge systems;
  • Technology for digital-rights management, access policies and authorization, including issues in social networks;
  • Technology for natural language processing and annotation of legal texts;
  • Technology for information retrieval over large bodies of legal texts;
  • Support and methodologies for the acquisition, management or use of legal knowledge, using rules, cases, neural networks, intelligent agents or other methods;

III. Applications of AI & Law

Implementations of AI & Law technology in real world systems. Papers should demonstrate added value, novelty and significance of the work, and if possible, evaluate (potential) impact.

  • Support for the production and management of legislation, in agenda setting, policy analysis, drafting, publishing, workflow management, simulation, and monitoring implementation;
  • Support for the judiciary, in application of the law, analysis of evidence, management of cases;
  • Support for lawyers, in legal reasoning, document drafting, negotiation;
  • Support for police activities, in forensic inquiries, search and evaluation of evidence, management of investigations;
  • Support for public administration, in applying regulations and managing information;
  • Support for businesses and other private parties in managing regulatory compliance and compliance of business processes.
  • Support for private parties in using alternative forms of dispute resolution, particularly on-line;
  • Support for education by using legal information systems in a teaching environment.

IV. Other

Any other topic related to the field of Artificial Intelligence and Law.

For more details, please see the call for papers.

HT @jurixfoundation

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Di Filippi on Ethereum and Law

Dr. Primavera Di Filippi of CERSA / CNRS / Université Paris II (Panthéon-Assas) gave a presentation entitled Ethereum: Freenet or Skynet? 13 April 2014 at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

Click here for video and audio of the presentation.

Here is the abstract:

Ethereum is a contract validating and enforcing system based on a distributed public ledger such as the one implemented by the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. The system allows for the management of complex distributed autonomous organizations, which raises questions about legality. Could this new platform promote the establishment of an entirely decentralized society, or will its disruptive potential eventually be absorbed by the established system? In this talk Primavera De Filippi — Berkman fellow and postdoctoral researcher at the CERSA/CNRS/Université Paris II — explores the dangers and opportunities of Ethereum.

Legal-technology-related topics covered by the presentation and the discussion afterwards include smart contracts, smart property, crypto-property, distributed autonomous organizations, modes of legal dispute resolution, ways to enable blockchain-based instruments to interface with legal systems, and similarities between autonomous block-chain based instruments and legal intelligent agents, including robots.

Click here for earlier posts about legal applications of blockchain technology.

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Webcast of event: European Citizens’ Initiative Day 2014: Building Up Success, 15 April 2014

A live webcast is available of today’s event on the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), European Citizens’ Initiative Day 2014: Building up success, taking place 15 April 2014 in Brussels.

The European Citizens’ Initiative is the European Union’s online direct democracy system.

Click here for the event program.

The Twitter hashtags for the event appear to be #eciday and #eci

Click here for earlier posts about the European Citizens’ Initiative.

For more resources related to this event, please see the comments to this post.


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Slides and handouts from LSC TIG 2014: Legal Services Corporation Technology Initiative Grants Conference

Slides and handouts of many of the presentations at LSC TIG 2014: Legal Services Corporation Technology Initiative Grants Conference, have been posted.

The presentations concern the use of technology for improving access to justice.

The conference was held 15-17 January in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.

Click here for the conference program.

The Twitter hashtags for the event seem to have been #lsctig and #lsctig14

Click here for a storify of Twitter tweets from the event.

HT David Bonebrake

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