Workshop Applying Human Language Technology to the Law

A workshop at
ICAIL 2011: The Thirteenth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law

Applying Human Language Technology to the Law (AHLTL 2011)

June 10, 2011
University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Over the last decade there have been dramatic improvements in the effectiveness and accuracy of Human Language Technology (HLT), accompanied by a significant expansion of the HLT community itself. Over the same period, there have been widespread developments in web-based distribution and processing of legal textual information, e.g. cases, legislation, citizen information sources, etc. More recently, a growing body of research and practice has addressed a range of topics common to both the HLT and Artificial Intelligence and Law communities, including automated legal reasoning and argumentation, semantic information retrieval, cross and multi-lingual information retrieval, document classification, logical representations of legal language, dialogue systems, legal drafting, legal knowledge discovery and extraction, linguistically based legal ontologies, among others. Central to these shared topics is use of HLT techniques and tools for automating knowledge extraction from legal texts and for processing legal language.
The workshop has several objectives. The first objective is to broaden the research base by introducing HLT researchers to the materials and problems of processing legal language. The second objective is to introduce AI and Law researchers to up-to-date theories, techniques, and tools from HLT, which can be applied to legal language. And the third objective is to deepen the existing research streams. Altogether, the interactions among the researchers are expected to advance research and applications and foster interdisciplinary collaboration within the legal domain.
Over the last two years, there have been several workshops and tutorials on or relating to processing legal texts and legal language, demonstrating a significant surge of interest. There have been two workshops on Semantic processing of legal texts (SPLeT) held in conjunction with LREC (2008 in Marrakech, Morocco; and 2010 in Malta). At ICAIL 2009, there were two workshops, LOAIT ’09 – the 3rd Workshop on Legal Ontologies and Artificial Intelligence Techniques joint with the 2nd Workshop on Semantic Processing of Legal Texts and NALEA ’09 – Workshop on the Natural Language Engineering of Legal Argumentation: Language, Logic, and Computation. LOAIT ’09 focussed on Legal Knowledge Representation with particular emphasis on the issue of ontology acquisition from legal texts, while NALEA ’09 tackled issues related to legal argumentation. In 2009, the National Science Foundation sponsored a workshop Automated Content Analysis and the Law, which drew participants from computational linguistics and political science. Finally, at the Second Workshop on Controlled Natural Language (CNL 2010), there were several presentations related to legal language.
Intended Audience:
The intended audience would include both current members of the AI & law community who are interested in automated analysis of legal texts and corpora and, in addition, HLT researchers for whom analysis of legal texts would provide an opportunity for development and evaluation of HLT techniques. It is anticipated that participants would come from industry (e.g. The MITRE Corporation, Thomson/Reuters, Endeca, Lexis/Nexis, Oracle), the judiciary in the US and Europe, national organisations (e.g. the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, the US National Science Foundation, European Science Foundation, the UK Office of Public Sector Information), government security agencies, legal professionals, and academic HLT researchers.
Areas of Interest:
The workshop will focus on extraction of information from legal text, representations of legal language (ontologies and semantic translations), and dialogic aspects. While information extraction and retrieval are crucial areas, the workshop emphasises syntactic, semantic, and dialogic aspects of legal information processing.

    Building legal resources: terminologies, ontologies, corpora.
    Ontologies of legal texts, including subareas such as ontology acquisition, ontology customisation, ontology merging, ontology extension, ontology evolution, lexical information, etc.
    Information retrieval and extraction from legal texts.
    Semantic annotation of legal texts.
    Multilingual aspects of legal text semantic processing.
    Legal thesauri mapping.
    Automatic Classification of legal documents.
    Automated parsing and translation of natural language arguments into a logical formalism.
    Linguistically-oriented XML mark up of legal arguments.
    Computational theories of argumentation that are suitable to natural language.
    Controlled language systems for law.
    Name matching and alias detection.
    Dialogue protocols and systems for legal discussion.

Workshop Schedule

      9:00 Opening remarks
      9:15 Jack Conrad (invited speaker). The Role of HLT in High-end Search and the Persistent Need for Advanced HLT Technologies
      10:00 Tommaso Fornaciari and Massimo Poesio. Lexical vs. Surface Features in Deceptive Language Analysis
      10:30 Nuria Casellas, Joan-Josep Vallbé and Thomas Bruce. Legal Thesauri Reuse. An Experiment with the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
      11:00 Break
      11:15 Meritxell Fernández-Barrera and Pompeu Casanovas. Towards the intelligent processing of non-expert generated content: mapping web 2.0 data with ontologies in the domain of consumer mediation
      11:45 Emile De Maat and Radboud Winkels. Formal Models of Sentences in Dutch Law
      12:15 Guido Boella, Llio Humphreys, Leon Van Der Torre and Piercarlo Rossi. Eunomos, a legal document management system based on legislative XML and ontologies (Position paper)
      12:45 Anna Ronkainen. From Spelling Checkers to Robot Judges? Some Implications of Normativity in Language Technology and AI and Law
      13:15 Lunch

Workshop Location
To be announced.
Author Guidelines:

    The workshop solicits full papers and position papers. Authors are welcome to submit tentative, incremental, and exploratory studies which examine HLT issues distinctive to the law and legal applications. Papers not accepted as full papers may be accepted as short research abstracts. Submissions will be evaluated by the program committee. For information on submission details (length, format, notion of position paper, etc) see the ICAIL 2011 conference information:
    Submissions should be submitted electronically in PDF to the EasyChair site by the deadline (see important dates below):
    AHLTL 2011, an EasyChair site


    Selected papers are to be invited to be revised and submitted to a special edition of the AI and Law journal, edited by Adam Wyner and Karl Branting.
    The papers from the workshop are available from here.


    Applying Human Language Technology to the Law

Important Dates:

    Paper submission deadline: DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS EXTENDED TO APRIL 10 by 00:00 EST
    Acceptance notification sent: 15 April 2011
    Final version deadline: 23 May 2011
    Workshop date: 10 June 2011

Contact Information:

    Primary contact: Adam Wyner,
    Secondary contact: Karl Branting,

Program Committee Co-Chairs:

    Adam Wyner (University of Liverpool, UK)
    Karl Branting (The MITRE Corporation, USA)

Program Committee:

    Kevin Ashley (University of Pittsburgh, USA)
    Johan Bos (University of Rome, Italy)
    Sherri Condon (The MITRE Corporation, USA)
    Jack Conrad (Thomson Reuters, USA)
    Enrico Francesconi (ITTIG-CNR, Florence, Italy)
    Ben Hachey (Macquarie University, Australia)
    Alessandro Lenci (Università di Pisa, Italy)
    Leonardo Lesmo (Università di Torino, Italy)
    Emile de Maat (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
    Thorne McCarty (Rutgers University, USA)
    Marie-Francine Moens (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium)
    Simonetta Montemagni (ILC-CNR, Italy)
    Raquel Mochales Palau (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium)
    Craig Pfeifer (The MITRE Corporation, USA)
    Wim Peters (University of Sheffield, United Kingdom)
    Paulo Quaresma (Universidade de Évora, Portugal)
    Mike Rosner (University of Malta, Malta)
    Tony Russell-Rose (Endeca, United Kingdom)
    Erich Schweighofer (Universität Wien, Austria)
    Rolf Schwitter (Macquarie University, Australia)
    Manfred Stede (University of Potsdam, Germany)
    Mihai Surdeanu (Stanford University, USA)
    Daniela Tiscornia (ITTIG-CNR, Italy)
    Radboud Winkels (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
    Jonathan Zeleznikow (Victoria University, Australia)