It is with distinct pleasure that I present to you the proceedings volume of the 27th International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems: JURIX 2014, held under the auspices of the Foundation for Legal Knowledge Based Systems (JURIX). With a history of over 25 years, the JURIX conferences are an established international forum for academics, practitioners, government and industry to present and discuss advanced research at the interface between Law, in a broad sense, and Computer Science. We are very happy to receive a warm welcome at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, this December. Special thanks go to Michał Araszkiewicz and his team for inviting us, and for making this conference possible.
This year, out of 51 submissions (135 authors), we accepted fourteen full papers (10 pages each), eight short papers (6 pages), six posters and two demos (each 2 pages); joint work of 91 authors in total. This is the first time that poster submissions are included in the printed proceedings.
It is encouraging to see that the contributions cover all aspects of this diverse field: theoretical, focused on a better understanding of argumentation, reasoning, norms and evidence; empirical, targeted to a more general understanding of law, and legal texts in particular; as well as practical papers, aimed at enabling a broader technical application of these theoretical insights.
First of all, we can distinguish between theoretical papers that focus on norms, and normative systems, and ones that focus more on legal cases and evidence. In the first category, we can find several papers that present argumentation-based models for statutory interpretation (Araszkiewicz, Sartor et al., Walton et al. and Zurek); such interpretations allow us to provide solid footing for the representation of norms, rights and other fundamental legal concepts. It is interesting to see a shift to models that emphasize the dynamic nature of the world governed by norms (Bench-Capon, Sileno et al., Azzopardi et al.). Of a more applied nature is a concrete model built to explain air passenger rights, implemented using Semantic Web technology (Rodríguez-Doncel et al.).
In the second category, we see papers on extracting (Timmer et al.) and understanding the argumentation that takes place within (Governatori et al., Carneiro et al.) and across legal cases (Al-Abdulkarim et al.); which shows that we are attacking the problem of understanding legal argumentation at different levels. These proceedings include two papers that emphasize the role of evidence in legal reasoning; determining plausible scenarios as explanations for evidence (Vlek et al.), and the various roles played by evidence for punishments and rewards (Boer).
To apply these theoretical views in practice, we require richer representations of legal information (in the broadest sense) than those which are currently available. Three papers promote the availability of legal information as (semantically rich) data (Sheridan, Frosterus et al., Poblet et al.), offering Linked Data platforms for accessing a variety of interconnected legal data for the purposes of retrieval and analysis. And in fact, retrieval and analysis increasingly go hand in hand. From more traditional text and information mining (Łopuszyński, Šavelka et al.), to structural analyses of legislation (Koniaris et al., Waltl and Matthes) and the use of structure to drive retrieval systems (Mimouni et al., Winkels et al.).
The datasets needed to drive such technology are covered as well (Nakamura and Kakuta, Rodríguez-Doncel et al.), including methods to integrate legal datasets creation in existing environments (Palmirani et al.). Law does not exist in isolation, and we see an increasing number of initiatives that adopt crowd sourcing (Crawford et al., Bueno et al., Costantini) and open source intelligence (Casanovas et al.) to build datasets and ontologies that bridge the gap between legal information and society as a whole.
Our two invited speakers this year were Noam Slonim, Senior Research Staff Member at the Analytics Department of the IBM Haifa Research lab, who talked about debating technologies at IBM, and Pieter Adriaans, professor of Learning and Adaptive Systems at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation and the Informatics Institute of the University of Amsterdam.
The conference was preceded by no less than four workshops and a tutorial. The 2nd International Workshop on Network Analysis in Law (NAIL 2014) builds on the success of the first edition held at ICAIL 2013 in Rome. The Semantic Web for Law (SW4Law 2014) workshop continues our tradition to foster the fruitful combination of Semantic Web technology and Legal information. The combination of the 14th Workshop on Computational Modelling of Natural Argument (CMNA 14) with the 1st International Workshop for Methodologies for Research on Legal Argumentation (MET-ARG 2014) provides a full day program on the study of argumentation. We furthermore organized a tutorial on “Formal Models of Balancing in Legal Cases”, an important topic in AI & Law and legal theory but also useful for legal decision makers and practitioners.
Last but not least, I would like to thank all 56 members of the program committee for their most excellent, diligent and timely work on reviewing the submitted papers. There wasn't a lot of time, and you were great!