Sheridan to lead major new legal informatics research project: Big Data for Law

John Sheridan of The National Archives will be directing a new £550,000 research project on Big Data for Law, “to transform how we understand and use current legislation, delivering a new service – legislation.gov.uk Research.”

Tom Bruce of the Legal Information Institute says that he is advising on this project.

Here are excerpts of announcement:

The National Archives has received ‘big data’ funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to deliver the ‘Big Data for Law’ project. Just over £550,000 will enable the project to transform how we understand and use current legislation, delivering a new service – legislation.gov.uk Research – by March 2015.

There are an estimated 50 million words in the statute book, with 100,000 words added or changed every month. Search engines and services like legislation.gov.uk have transformed access to legislation. Law is accessed by a much wider group of people, the majority of whom are typically not legally trained or qualified. […]

There has never been a more relevant time for research into the architecture and content of law, the language used in legislation and how, through interpretation by the courts, it is given effect. Research that will underpin the drive to deliver good, clear and effective law. […]

Big data research is perfectly possible with legislation if only the basic ingredients – the data, the tools and some tried and trusted methods – were as readily available as the computing power and the storage. The vision for this project is to address that gap by providing a new Legislation Data Research Infrastructure at research.legislation.gov.uk. Specifically tailored to researchers’ needs, it will consist of downloadable data, online tools for end-users; and open source tools for researchers to download, adapt and use.

There are three main areas for research:

  • Understanding researchers’ needs […]
  • Deriving new open data from closed data […]
  • Pattern language for legislation […]

About the new project, John Sheridan said [here and here]:

I’m especially excited about the fabulous people involved, from drafters to publishers + academics. A unique collaboration.

[UK Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary Richard Heaton]’s leadership with the #goodlaw initiative has been a huge catalyst and inspiration.

For more details, please see the complete announcement.

HT @trbruce

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7 Responses to Sheridan to lead major new legal informatics research project: Big Data for Law

  1. Pingback: More on Computational Legal Science at MIT Media Lab | Legal Informatics Blog

  2. Pingback: Sheridan on Big Data for Law | Legal Informatics Blog

  3. The Twitter hashtag for John Sheridan’s Big Data for Law project appears to be: #bigdata4law https://twitter.com/search?q=%23bigdata4law

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