Legal technology is about how we can use information and communication technology (ICT) to make the legal system more effective and robust.
One sub-area concerns questions relating to information retrieval systems of legal sources (laws, judgments, etc.), of which Lovdata and the Norwegian law commentary are examples in Norway. Such legal information systems are used to make sources of law more accessible to professional users of legal sources and to the general public. The NRCCL, way back in 1970, took up the task of describing and analyzing legal information retrieval systems in natural languages, often called text retrieval systems. Within a decade, a number of fundamental studies were carried out. One of these laid the basis for the activity which is today carried out by the Lovdata Foundation. Jon Bing’s doctoral thesis from 1982 develops a theory for legal communication processes and has been central in later research in this field.
Another sub-area concerns systems which transform legal rules into computer programs in order to enable the automation of the application of laws. The rules are thus not in natural language but are expressed in computer language. The NRCCL has carried out research on legal decision-making systems since the middle of the 1970s, and the establishment of the Section for eGovernment Studies (SeGov) in 1994 involved, inter alia, setting a focus on research relating to the use by government administration of legal technology in the form of decision-making systems, etc. This area also includes more general studies on the representation of legal rules, often called knowledge-based systems in law (“artificial intelligence and law”).
The third current sub-area deals with regulatory management, i.e. how ICT may be used to ensure the quality of regulations (i.e. consistent and coordinated regulations, etc.). This is an international research field where the NRCCL, inter alia, has directed focus on legal and political issues, meta and hyper-structures and micro-vocabulary in sources of law. In exceptional cases, the analysis is of the legal information systems of an entire jurisdiction (such studies were carried out with regards to the legal systems of Portugal, the Baltic States, Tanzania, etc.).
Published Dec. 12, 2013 1:47 PM