ICAIL 2009 Workshops

Last week, I attended the 12th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law in Barcelona, Spain. Tuesday-Thursday were given to the main conference while Monday and Friday were for workshops. This post makes a few remarks about the workshops.
On Monday, I attended two workshops. In the morning, I was at Legal Ontologies and Artificial Intelligence Technique (LOAIT), while in the afternoon, I attended Modeling Legal Cases, where I presented a paper An OWL Ontology for Legal Cases with an instantiation of Popov v. Hayashi. On Friday, I was at the morning workshop which I organized with Tom van Engers Natural Language Engineering of Legal Argumentation (NaLELA), where I presented a paper by Tom and I where we outline our approach to engineering argumentation.
At LOAIT, we heard reports about ongoing projects to provide legal taxonomies or ontologies for mediation, norms, business process specification, legislative markup, and acquisition of ontologies. Most of this work is still in the research phase, though some of it has been applied to samples in the domain of application.
At the modeling workshop, we heard a paper by Bex, Bench-Capon, and Atkinson about how to represent motives in an argumentation framework. Basically the idea is to make the notion of motives something explicit by putting it as a node in an argumentation graph; as such, the motives can be attacked and reasoned with. Trevor Bench-Capon modeled dimensions in property law in an argumentation framework. This paper was particularly helpful to me to finally get a grip on what dimensions are; in effect, they are finer-grained factors with an ordering over them. For example, possession ranges from an animal roaming free, a chase being started, hot pursuit, mortally wounding the animal, to actual bodily possession. In another paper, Trevor modeled a set of US Supreme Court cases, raising a series of important questions about how the reasoning of the Supreme Court could be modeled. Douglas Walton’s paper gave some samples of argumentation schemes. Henry Prakken presented an analysis in his argumentation framework of a case concerning disability assessment. Finally Kevin Ashley gave an overview of some aspects of legal case based reasoning which, he claims, ought to have some ontological representation. This paper is relevant to my research on ontologies as Kevin pointed out a range of elements which may be considered for inclusion in an ontology. My main reservation is that there ought to be some clear distinction between the ontology (domain knowledge) and the rules that apply to the elements of the ontology.
More information about the NaLELA workshop can be found at the website for Natural Language Engineering of Argumentation.
There were three other workshops I did not have time to attend — the workshop on E-discovery/E-disclosure, privacy and protection in web-based social networks, legal and negotiation decision support systems.