The new version has been published by Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques of the Italian National Research Council (ITTIG/CNR); Italy, National Centre for ICT in Public Administration (CNIPA); Brazil, Federal Senate, IT Department (PRODASEN); and Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute (LII).
According to the new version, “The purpose of the ‘lex’ namespace is to assign an unequivocal identifier, in standard format, to documents that are sources of law.”
Here are some key differences between the new version and the previous version (dated 30 October 2009):
- The former term “National Registrar” has been changed to “Registrar” because that role may pertain to jurisdictions other than national jurisdictions;
- A new “Definitions” section has been added, providing definitions for the terms “Source of Law” and “Registrar”;
- The definition of “Source of Law” provides that that term denotes “anything that can be conceived of as the originator of legal rules,” presumably including constitutions; treaties and other international agreements; contracts; conveyancing instruments; and proposed legislation. Further, other parts of the new version expressly refer to:
- constitutions (see, e.g., the example of the 1988 Brazilian Constitution in section 4.4),
- treaties (see, e.g., section 4.5),
- proposed legislation (see, e.g., the example of a proposition from the Sénat de France in Section 4.4), and
- conveyancing instruments (see, e.g., the example of the Free Software Foundation’s General Public License in Section 4.4);
- The element formerly named “country” is now named “jurisdiction”, because that element may refer to national or international jurisdictions;
- The syntax of the “partition-id” element has been changed, such that the former character “#” has been replaced by “~”, in order to avoid resolution and retrieval problems arising from the fact that when a URN is resolved, a “#” character in the URN will not be transmitted to the server.
Full disclosure: I submitted comments respecting proposed revisions to the former version of URN:LEX, and some of my comments were incorporated into the new version. I am most grateful to Professor Francesconi and his colleagues for considering the comments offered and for incorporating many of those comments into the new version.
URN:LEX is one of the metadata standards being used in conjunction with the Law.gov legal open government data project.
Legal information systems developers are sharing examples of URN:LEX identifiers, and discussing how to use URN:LEX, on LexCraft, the wiki for sharing best practices in legal information systems development, hosted by the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School. To participate in this discussion, or to add further examples, if you’re not already a LexCraft member, one need only register as a LexCraft member. Registration is free. Click here to register on LexCraft.