This year the Jurix conference has come to Florencebeing hosted by ITTIG (Istituto di Teoria e Tecniche dell'Informazione Giuridica, formerly called IDG, Istituto di Documentazione Giuridica), one of the places where legal informatics started in Europe. In fact ITTIG began its activities in 1968, and has been cultivating legal informatics without interruption ever since.
At its very beginnings, legal informatics was mostly limited to the study of legal databases, but very early ITTIG started being involved with the specific topic of this conference, namely, knowledge-based systems. In the 80's ITTIG hosted the first international symposia dealing with artificial intelligence and law, the “Logica, informatica, diritto” (Logic, informatics, law) conferences, held in 1981, 1984 and 1988. These conferences attracted a wide international audience and anticipated indeed the two main series of conferences dealing with advanced applications of computing in the legal domain: ICAIL (International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law) and Jurix. The “Logica, informatica, diritto” conferences contributed to stimulate the interest for legal informatics in Italy, where ITTIG was joined in the '80s by CIRSFID in Bologna, which also made legal informatics, and particularly artificial intelligence and law, the focus of its research interests.
If we compare the index of Jurix 2008 with the index of “Logica, informatica diritto” 1981, we notice that research in computers and law keeps an unchanged interest for certain fundamental issues: the logical representation of norms and their application through logical inference, the formal representation of legal concepts, the attempt to develop intelligent legal information systems for retrieval and decision support, the use of models provided by legal theory. Alongside such a continuity, we can however detect considerable progress in the 27 years between Logica, informatica e diritto 1981 and Jurix 2008. Merely programmatic papers have been substituted with precise accounts of applications and prototypes. In many domains the focus has changed. For instance, research in retrieval has moved from classical boolean systems into the management of documents in the Web, addressing in particular standards and methods for embedding machine readable information into such documents and search methods for dealing with heterogeneous information. Similarly, with regard to legal concepts, the focus has moved from thesauri to ontologies or to techniques for the automatic extraction of concepts from natural language texts. In the domain of legal reasoning merely deductive inferences have been expanded with models of legal argumentation, dialogue and mediation.
“Logica, informatica e diritto” 1981 and Jurix 2008 share the connection between theoretical models and the development of applications and prototypes. However, while in 1981 one could mostly see a juxtaposition of papers in legal theory and papers in computer applications, in 2008 we can see how discussions of issues in legal theory are embedded within contributions to legal informatics. This shows how research in legal informatics is increasingly becoming an autonomous domain of scientific inquiry by creatively incorporating and developing knowledge and methods from the two disciplines from which it originates (legal theory and computer science), while preserving links with them. This aspect of research in legal informatics is indeed visible in all sessions of the conference, which include the following:
• case-based reasoning (Ashley, Lynch, Pinkwart and Aleven; Mochales-Palau and Moens; Verheij),
• document management (Negroni, Davies, Cislaghi, Eleftherakis and Ferri; van Opijnen),
• information retrieval (Sanchez-Nielsen and Chavez-Gutierrez; Maxwell and Schafer; Francesconi, Faro and Marinai),
• knowledge-based systems (Caceres; Bellucci; Contissa and Laukyte),
• argumentation and reasoning (Phan Minh and Phan Minh; Governatori, Thakur and Pham; Wardeh, Bench-Capon and Coenen; Bex, Bench-Capon and Atkinson; van de Ven, Breuker, Hoekstra and Wortel; Prakken and Sartor; Governatori and Rotolo),
• investigation support (Cybulka, Jędrzejek and Martinek; van den Braak, van Oostendorp, Prakken and Vreeswijk),
• semantics and documents (Biagioli and Grossi; Brighi, Lesmo, Mazzei, Radicioni and Palmirani; Winkels and de Maat).
We think that this impressive list of contributions is sufficient evidence how legal informatics (and in particular AI & law) has fully recovered from the “AI Winter” of the 90's and is now enjoying a renewed success in theory and practice.
The papers accepted to Jurix 2008 also show how Jurix has changed during the 20 years since its beginning, transforming itself from a Dutch-only conference, mainly devoted to applications, into a European event, having an international audience and a broader scope. This year Jurix has indeed accepted 19 full and 4 short papers, out of 45 submissions (the highest number ever presented). The participants are from 10 countries, from 4 continents: Australia, Belgium, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, USA. Considering papers accepted for the Workshops, many other countries are also present.
Besides the submissions included in this volume, Jurix 2008 will include two invited lectures, by Kevin Ashley, who has been for many years a leading researcher in case-based reasoning in the legal domain, and by Barry Smith, whose fundamental contribution to ontologies has been a major reference also for those working in the legal domain. The philosophical dimension of legal informatics will be addressed during the dinner speech by Luigi Lombardi Vallauri, professor of Philosophy of Law at the Florence University and ITTIG Director in the '80s, when he was a pioneer in envisioning the potentialities of formal methods and computational models applied to the legal domain.
The main Jurix conference is complemented by workshops addressing some of the most significant issues in contemporary legal informatics:
• Workshop on Legislative XML 2008: the Law in the Semantic Web and beyond,
• Workshop on Game Theory, Agents and the Law. New models for legal informatics,
• Workshop on the Natural Language Engineering of Legal Argumentation: Language, Logic, and Computation,
• 5th International Workshop on Online Dispute Resolution.
We would like to thank the members of the Program Committee, who have selected the contributions for the conference (a difficult task, given the high quality of most submissions) and have provided the authors with useful suggestions for improvement:
• Kevin D. Ashley, University of Pittsburgh, USA
• Katie Atkinson, University of Liverpool, UK
• Emilia Bellucci, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
• Trevor J.M. Bench-Capon, University of Liverpool, UK
• Jon Bing, University of Oslo, Norway
• Daniele Bourcier, CNRS CERSA, University of Paris 2, France
• Frances M.T. Brazier, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
• Joost Breuker, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
• Stefanie Bruninghaus, University of Pittsburgh, USA
• Enrique Caceres Nieto, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico
• Pompeu Casanovas, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain
• Jack G. Conrad, Thomson Reuters, USA
• Rosa Maria Di Giorgi, ITTIG-CNR, Italy
• Tom van Engers, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
• Thomas F. Gordon, Fraunhofer FOKUS, Berlin, Germany
• Carole D. Hafner, Northeastern University, USA
• Frank van Harmelen, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
• Jaap van den Herik, Univ. Leiden & Univ. Maastricht, The Netherlands
• Gloria T. Lau, FindLaw & Stanford University, USA
• Arno R. Lodder, VU University Amsterdam & CEDIRE.org, The Netherlands
• Ronald P. Loui, Washington University St. Louis, USA
• Marie-Francine Moens, KU Leuven, Belgium
• Laurens Mommers, Universiteit Leiden, The Netherlands
• Roberta Nannucci, ITTIG-CNR, Florence, Italy
• Ajit Narayanan, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
• Katsumi Nitta, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Yokohama, Japan
• Kees van Noortwijk, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands
• Anja Oskamp, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
• Monica Palmirani, University of Bologna, Italy
• Marta Poblet, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain
• Henry Prakken, Universiteit Groningen & Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
• Paulo Quaresma, Universidade de Evora & Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
• Nino Rotolo, University of Bologna, Italy
• Burkhard Schafer, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
• Pierluigi Spinosa, ITTIG-CNR, Florence, Italy
• Giancarlo Taddei Elmi, ITTIG-CNR, Florence, Italy
• Leon van der Torre, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
• Bart Verheij, Universiteit Groningen, The Netherlands
• Kees de Vey Mestdagh, Universiteit Groningen, The Netherlands
• Fabio Vitali, University of Bologna, Italy
• Douglas N. Walton, University of Windsor, Canada
• Radboud Winkels, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
• Hajime Yoshino, Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan
• John Zeleznikow, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
Finally, many thanks also to the external reviewers, for their invaluable support to the work of the Program Committee.
Enrico Francesconi, Giovanni Sartor, Daniela Tiscornia