For more than 30 years, the Dutch Foundation for Knowledge Based Systems JURIX (https://jurix.nl) has organised annual conferences on artificial intelligence & law. Starting as a mostly Dutch event, is has spread out to Europe, having taken place in many countries (inter alia in Malta, Austria, Belgium, France, Poland, and Czech Republic). This year, the already 34th International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems (JURIX 2021) takes place in Vilnius, Lithuania. From the point of geography, Lithuania is the heart of Europe; it is not yet but may become so also in the mind of people, reminding us about the richness diversity of the “old continent”. Considering participants and speakers, JURIX2021 is now truly a European conference on artificial intelligence & law, with strong outreach to the Americas and Australasia.
This annual international conference has been open for all, in particular academics, legal practitioners, software companies, administrations, parliaments and the judiciary. It is now a place of virtuous exchange of knowledge between theoretical research and applications on artificial intelligence & law. Traditionally, this field has been concerned with legal knowledge representation and engineering, computational models of legal reasoning, and analyses of legal data. However, recent years have witnessed an increasing interest in the application of data analytics and machine learning tools to relevant tasks.
The 2021 edition of JURIX, which runs from December 8 to 10, is hosted by the Mykolas Romeris University in Vilnius. Due to the Covid-19 health crisis, the conference is organised in a virtual format. For this edition, we have received 65 submissions. 13 of these submissions were selected for publication as long papers (10 pages each), 17 as short papers (6–8 pages each) for a total of 30 presentations. We were inclusive in making our selection, but the competition was stiff and the submissions were put through a rigorous review process with a total acceptance rate (long and short papers) of 46%, and a competitive 20% acceptance rate for long papers.
The accepted papers cover a broad array of topics, from computational models of legal argumentation, case-based reasoning, legal ontologies, smart contracts, privacy management and evidential reasoning, through information extraction from different types of text in legal documents, to ethical dilemmas.
Invited speakers have honored JURIX 2021 by kindly agreeing to deliver a keynote lecture: Friedrich Lachmayer and Vytautas Čyras. Friedrich Lachmayer is a retired high-level lawyer of the Austrian administration – the legal service of the Federal Chancellery, a glorified docent (Professor at the University of Innsbruck) and a well-known expert on legal theory and legal visualization. Vytautas Čyras is a professor at the University of Vilnius and has worked for more than 15 years on these topics.
We are very grateful to them for having accepted our invitation and for their interesting and inspiring talks.
Traditionally, the main JURIX conference is accompanied by co-located events comprising workshops and tutorials. This year’s edition welcomes six workshops and one tutorial:
1st Workshop in Agent-based Modeling & Policy-Making (AMPM 2021)
AI Approaches to the Complexity of Legal Systems (AICOL 2021)
CEILI Workshop on Legal Data Analysis (LDA21)
EXplainable & Responsible AI in Law (XAILA 2021)
The First International Workshop on Intelligent Regulatory Systems (IRS 2021)
Use of Information Technology in Judicial Processes (MRU 2021)
Tutorial on Legal Informatics Topics: Legal Tech & Privacy Impact Assessment (TLIT2021)
We would like to thank the workshops’ and tutorials’ organizers for their excellent proposals and for the effort involved in organizing the events.
The continuation of well-established events and the organization of entirely new ones provide a great added value to the JURIX conference, enhancing its thematic and methodological diversity and attracting members of the broader community.
Since 2013, JURIX has also hosted the Doctoral Consortium, now in its ninth edition. This initiative aims to attract and promote Ph.D. researchers in the area of AI & Law so as to enrich the community with original and fresh contributions. We owe our gratitude to Monica Palmirani who started the Doctoral Consortium.
Organizing this conference would not have been possible without the support of many people and institutions. Special thanks are due to the local organizing team chaired by Lyra Jakulevičienė and Paulius Pakutinskas of the Legal Tech Centre and Law School, Mykolas Romeris University (Lithuania).
Thanks are also due to the University of Vienna, Arbeitsgruppe Rechtsinformatik, Juridicum and its related organisations, in particular the Wiener Zentrum für Rechtsinformatik (WZRI) and IRI§-Conferences. These efforts were sponsored also by Cybly, Wien/Salzburg and Weblaw, Bern.
This year, we are particularly grateful to the members of the Program Committee for their excellent work in the rigorous review process and for their participation in the discussions concerning borderline papers. Senior Members have provided additional support. Sub-reviewers have done a rigorous check on some papers. Their work has been even more appreciated provided the complex situation we are experiencing due to the pandemic.
Last but not least, this year’s conference was organized in partnership with GO Vilnius, Lithuanian Bar Association and Amberlo.
Finally, we would like to thank the former and current JURIX executive committee and steering committee members.
JURIX 2021 Programme Chair