Abstracts from Cyberspace 13 Conference: Legal Informatics Stream

Here are abstracts of the three papers presented at the Legal Informatics Stream of the Cyberspace 13 Conference, held 22-23 November 2013 in Brno:

Dr Tomasz Bekrycht: Communications Models in Law. Abstract:

Communication processes can be generally described with the use of two models. The first one adopts cybernetic perspective, while the second one adopts social perspective. Cybernetic perspective leads to transmission conception of communication whereas the social one to convergent concept of it. Both communication models are deeply present in the legal discourses, i.e. in lawmaking discourse and discourse of application. The paper describes the position of the above-mentioned models in these discourses applying P. Nonet’s and P. Selznick’s dynamic models of law and lawmaking.

Bogdan Czejdo: Ontology-based Text Processing in Cyberspace. Abstract:

The abundance of documents in Cyberspace makes it increasingly likely that the precise information the user needs or wants is available. One of the application areas of Cyberspace text processing is to provide assistance to lawyers by automatically analyzing unstructured legal data describing cases, statues, and regulations and supporting domain-oriented legal case analysis. Typical information extraction techniques are keyword/category based. This presentation will describe an approach to text mining that uses the combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques for identification of relevant concepts and relationships. The selected concepts and relationships are extracted in the process guided by ontologies and by Cyberspace documents for the domain of interest. In this presentation we address the problem of text mining in Cyberspace, and simultaneously creating annotations in documents, graphical representation of concepts and their relationships and integration of new extracted knowledge with the current ontology. We examine an automated mechanism for pull and push functions for the documents. The pull function allows users to access the information contained in the documents based on their queries. The push function alerts users to the presence of new documents based on ontology-defined triggers. The described approach is highly modular and parametric giving the human a tool to adjust quickly to text mining in a dynamically changing environment.

Zsolt Ződi: Analysis of Citations within Hungarian Judicial Decisions. Abstract:

For a long time there is an ongoing debate on the Hungarian (and on the continental) legal system’s shift towards a “precedential” character. Some say, the continental, and the common law systems are converging, because the previous is increasingly relying on cases, while, within the latter the importance of statute law is growing. One of the most spectacular, and measurable indicator of the “precedential character” could be the large (and growing in time) number of citations to other precedents within the judicial decisions. The importance of these citations is so huge, that for the easy handling of these, the so-called “citators” were developed at the end of the 19th century in the U.S. These citators are registering all the citations of a particular judicial decision within subsequently published other decisions. Between Sept 2012 and Sept 2013 I have led a research of which aim was to analyze the citation patterns, within the official database of judicial decisions of the Hungarian Courts (http://www.birosag.hu/ugyfelkapcsolati-portal/anonim-hatarozatok-tara). The primary goal of the research was to verify (or falsify) the “precedential character” of the Hungarian judicial practice. We used two methods. The first was, that we counted and analyzed those features of these patterns with computer, which can be processed without the understanding of the wider context. With this, amongst others, we could get the answer for the following questions. What is the average citation frequency within the database? Which courts and court branches are citing more decisions, than others? What are the most popular precedents, and precedents types? The second method was, that with a representative sampling we have chosen 500 decisions, read them, and recorded some criteria in a database. This part of the research we hoped to give answers for the following questions: are judges using “real” precedent methods, like distinguishing and overruling? What are the most “precedent-intensive” legal topics? What kind of argumentative patterns are attached to the citations? In my paper I will show the results of the research.

For full text of papers, please contact the authors.

Click here for the full conference program.

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