For the past 25 yearsthe JURIX conferencesheld under the auspices of the Dutch Foundation for Legal Knowledge Systems (www.jurix.nl), have brought together researchers from computer science and law to promote research in, and development of computer tools in the legal domain. What began as a local collaboration between Dutch and Flemish scientists transformed over the years into one of the internationally leading events that bridge the gap between the “2 cultures”, and unite computer scientists, lawyers, but also social scientists, philosophers and economists in a common endeavour. This volume contains the proceedings of the twenty fifth international Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems (JURIX 2012), which was held December 17th–19th at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, a “homecoming” for the anniversary.
This year we had 35 submissions from 23 countries, representing research groups in Europe, the Americas, Australia and Asia. Each paper was reviewed by three experts of the Program Committee that consisted of 32 people from 14 countries. Of the 35 submissions, 16 were accepted as full papers of ten pages for publication in these proceedings and presentation at the conference. An additional five were accepted as short papers (four pages) with shorter presentations.
The selected papers demonstrate the strong health of the AI and Law research field in general and the JURIX community in particular. Not only is the number of countries represented increasing every year, the coverage of subjects remains equally broad, from formal models of evidential reasoning to legal information retrieval, from tools for policy deliberation to negotiation support systems. Regularly, they tackle important social challenges, such as affordable access to justice or more efficient patent law, privacy protecting software design or assistance in law reform projects. Even more encouraging are the demographics. On the one hand, the JURIX community is stable, with many participants regulars of our conferences for many years. Radboud Winkels is one of this year's presenters who also attended the inaugural JURIX conference 25 years ago, and holds the record for participation (24 conferences). The paper by Trevor Bench-Capon, another regular and with us since the third JURIX conference, was ranked highest after the review process and will mark his 22nd appearance at JURIX. This continuous involvement of internationally leading researchers in the field not only contributes to the high international profile of the conference, it also ensures that ideas and projects have the chance to develop incrementally to maturity.
At the same time, a new generation of researchers is coming through, and often they are the former students of the participants at the earlier JURIX events. This not only ensures the sustainability of the AI and Law research paradigm, it also gives credence to the role that the JURIX conferences and their associated workshops have played over the years for capacity building and the training of the next generation of interdisciplinary researchers.
Finally, this year we welcomed an unusually high number of new faces, researchers who are either already well established in their respective fields and have chosen JURIX as a new outlet for their research, or early career researchers who have identified an affinity of their research questions with those of the JURIX community. This ensures the influx of new ideas and new, and hopefully critical, perspectives that prevent “self-certification”.
The three invited lectures also reflect our achievements and aspirations. Noel Sharkey's talk on robots opens up our field to new research questions and applications, and marks the changing field of AI and law beyond the PC or the internet, into a world where formal renditions of Asimov's laws of robotics may soon become an urgent requirement for technology design. The talk by Ivan Futo from the Hungarian National Tax and Customs Administration reminds us of the close connection to our user community and the relevance of our work for the day to day administration of the legal system. It also highlights the increasing importance of participants from Eastern Europe in the JURIX conferences, with the number of papers from these jurisdictions steadily increasing. Anton Nijholt's talk finally links our work to one of the most technically demanding fields of AI and law, natural language processing, though as dinner speech from a perspective that makes it in every sense of the word more easily digestible.
Also encouraging was the large number of workshops and tutorials that have become a mainstay of the JURIX conferences. They are the seedling for new research fields, and an opportunity to get hands-on experience on the computational and technical aspects of our research, bridging practice and theory.
A conference like JURIX is not possible without the effort and support of the members of the international Program Committee:
• Kevin D. Ashley, University of Pittsburgh, USA
• Zsolt Balogh, University of Pecs, Hungary
• Trevor Bench-Capon, University of Liverpool, UK
• Floris Bex, University of Dundee, UK
• Alexander Boer, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
• Joost Breuker, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
• Pompeu Casanovas, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain
• Jack G. Conrad, Thomson Reuters, Switzerland
• Tom van Engers, Leibniz Center for Law, The Netherlands
• Enrico Francesconi, ITTIG-CNR, Florence, Italy
• Anne Gardner, Atherton, USA
• Thomas F. Gordon, Fraunhofer FOKUS, Berlin, Germany
• Guido Governatori, NICTA, Australia
• Carole D. Hafner, Northeastern University, USA
• Rinke Hoekstra, VU University Amsterdam/University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
• Arno R. Lodder, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
• Thorne McCarthy, Rutgers University, USA
• Marie-Francine Moens, KU Leuven, Belgium
• Laurens Mommers, Universiteit Leiden, The Netherlands
• Paulo Novais, Universidade do Minho, Portugal
• Monica Palmirani, University of Bologna, Italy
• Radim Polcak, Masaryk University, Czech Republic
• Henry Prakken, Universiteit Groningen & Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
• Paulo Quaresma, Universidade de Evora & Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
• Antonio Rotolo, University of Bologna, Italy
• Giovanni Sartor, European University Institute, Florence – Cirsfid, University of Bologna, Italy
• Ken Satoh, National Institute of Informatics and Sokendai, Japan
• Erich Schweighofer, University of Vienna, Austria
• Uri Schild, Bar Ilan University, Israel
• Bart Verheij, Universiteit Groningen, The Netherlands
• Douglas N. Walton, University of Windsor, Canada
• Radboud Winkels, Leibniz Center for Law, The Netherlands
• Adam Wyner, University of Liverpool, UK
• John Zeleznikow, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
We thank all authors for submitting their work, and those of accepted papers for responding to the reviewers' comments and abiding by our production schedule. As always, the hope is that publication of the proceedings is not the end of the discussion, but only the beginning, and that they stimulate debate, criticism and critical reflection at the conference and beyond. Finally a special thanks to the local organisers, Tom van Engers and Radboud Winkels, for taking on the responsibility of organising JURIX 2012.
School of Law
University of Edinburgh