Talk at BILETA 2011

I’m giving a talk tomorrow, April 11 2011, at BILETA, the annual conference of the British & Irish Law, Education and Technology Association at Manchester Metropolitan University School of Law. My collaborators are Wim Peters (University of Sheffield) and Fiona Beveridge (University of Liverpool).
The abstract and slides are below:
Web-based Software Tools to Support Students’ Empirical Study of the Law
Adam Wyner (University of Liverpool, Computer Science), Wim Peters (University of Sheffield, Computer Science), and Fiona Beveridge (University of Liverpool, Law School)
The paper investigates and proposes tools to support students in empirically investigating legal cases using text analytic software. Web-based tools can be used to engage and leverage the collective skills and ambitions of law students to crowd-source the development of legal resource materials. Law school students must develop skills in close textual analysis of legal source material such as legal cases. To use source material such as case decisions to reason about how precedents apply in case-based reasoning, law students must learn to identify a range of elements in legal cases, for example, parties, jurisdiction, material facts, legislative and case citations, cause of action, ratio decideni, and others. Moreover, students should be able to address complex queries to a case or a case base (a corpus of cases) in order to answer questions of particular legal interest; for example, about relationships between a judge, parties, cause of action, and ratio. Currently students either simply rely on their own analytic abilities to read a case or find answers to questions; legal search tools (e.g. Lexis-Nexis) provide search support, but are restricted to a limited number of coarse-grained parameters and cannot search for deep, particular semantic relationships in the text. To enable automated support of queries of the corpus, and so enable deep empirical research on cases, it is essential to have a corpus of legal cases which are annotated with machine readable (XML) tags that signal the semantic properties of passages of text. To create such a corpus requires a tool to annotate the text. Such a tool would reinforce students’ examination of the source document. The paper describes recent developments of tools using Semantic Web technologies, text analysis, and web-based annotation support. With the text analysis software, General Architecture for Text Engineering (GATE), which is customised for legal applications, law students can annotate legal cases for a fine-grained range of legally relevant concepts and linguistic relations; they can also use GATE to write grammars and automatically annotate the text. Using GATE TeamWare, an online text annotation tool that automatically evaluates interannotator agreement, students can collaboratively analyse and agree on a gold standard corpus of legal cases. The corpus can be automatically indexed using Lucene, thereby allowing fast results to complex queries over any string or annotation used.
The slides of the talk are here

Workshop on Argumentation and Case-based Reasoning at ICCBR Sept 12-15, 2011

Call for Papers

Argumentation and Case-based Reasoning (ACBR 2011)

September 12, 2011
A workshop at
ICCBR 2011: The International Conference on Case-based Reasoning, September 12-15, 2011
Greenwich, London, United Kingdom
Case-based reasoning is standardly formalised as having four-steps – retrieve, reuse, revise, and retain. In this formalisation, there is little scope for debate. However, in domains such as law, medicine, and product selection, participants (lawyers, doctors, or consumers) may argue for or against a given legal determination, clinical treatment plan, or product choice based on what is retrieved from the case base, how the cases are reused, and what revisions are made to a case. The participants must not only justify their argument, but also defend it against counter-arguments; as well, subsidiary arguments must be justified and defended. Moreover, the information in the case base may be incomplete; different individuals to the dispute may hold alternative views, values, or consumer-oriented goals; and the reasoning itself may only be plausible rather than certain. Given this, we resort to defeasible argumentation on information derived from the case base, where claims only presumptively follow from premises and reasoning about the overall ‘network’ of arguments can be related to alternative contexts or audiences. At the end of the reasoning process, some decision must be made, which may vary depending on audiences.
Recent research on formalising or supporting decision-making in social systems (law, medicine, consumer discussion websites) shows the crucial role of argumentation in structuring, clarifying, and reasoning with respect to complex, possibly inconsistent information. Bringing researchers together to discuss results across domains will lead to greater understanding of commonalities or problems and forward state-of-the-art research on the intersection of and interaction between case-based reasoning and argumentation.
Intended Audence
Researchers working on Argumentation and CBR in any theoretical approach and application domain (Law, Medicine, Web-based consumer sites, Games, etc).
Areas of Interest (preliminary):

  • Relationships between case-bases and argumentation such as argumentation schemes that are designed for particular domains.
  • The content and structure of the case-base as required by participants to the argument.
  • Examples examples and applications of case-based argumentative reasoning.
  • Author Guidelines:
    The workshop solicits full papers and position papers. As well as fully-developed, thoroughly evaluated research, authors are welcome to submit tentative, incremental, and exploratory studies. Papers not accepted as full papers may be accepted as short research abstracts. Submissions will be evaluated by the program committee. Papers should be submitted in LNCS format, with a maximum of 10 pages. Camera-ready copies of papers have to be ready on the 25 of July 2011 (hard deadline) so that they can be included in the workshop proceedings.
    Submissions should be submitted electronically in PDF to the EasyChair site by the deadline (see important dates below). As it stands now, you submit the paper via ICCBR submission page on EasyChair, submitting the paper to Workshop 6: Argumentation and Case-based Reasoning.
    Papers will appear in the proceedings of the conference workshops. Further details about publication are to follow.
    Argumentation and Case-based Reasoning
    Important Dates:
    Paper submission deadline: 27 June 2011 by 00:00 GMT
    Acceptance notification sent: 06 July 2011
    Final camera-ready version deadline: 5 August 2011
    Workshop date: 12 September 2011
    Contact Information:
    Primary contact: Adam Wyner,
    Program Committee Co-Chairs:
    Adam Wyner (University of Liverpool, UK)
    Trevor Bench-Capon (University of Liverpool, UK)
    Program Committee (preliminary):
    Kevin Ashley, University of Pittsburgh
    Katie Atkinson, University of Liverpool
    Frans Coenen, University of Liverpool
    Mehmet Goker, PriceWaterhouseCoopers
    Nancy Green, University of North Carolina
    Stella Heras, Universidad Politecnica de Valencia
    Cindy Marling, Ohio University
    David McSherry, University of Ulster
    Edwina Rissland, University of Massachusetts
    Maya Wardeh, University of Liverpool