Recently, there has been an increasing interest in legal data mining tools and applications around the world. For OPENLEGALDATA.IO, we focus mainly on two areas: (1) Finding and Providing Legal Documents and (2) Text Mining on Legal Documents.

The Free Law Project is a California non-profit public benefit corporation. The Free Law Project (and its service CourtListener2) selfdeclared its mission to be “to provide free, public, and permanent access to primary legal materials on the Internet for educational, charitable, and scientific purposes to the benefit of the general public and the public interest” [1]. Online distribution of the opinions occurs through their CourtListener project. CourtListener.com aims to ease this problem by providing a free and open source platform for the aggregation, organization, search and retrieval of legal documents. CourtListener.com seeks to collect and freely distribute online all United States court opinions, both state and federal, both historical and current.

Frosterus et al. [2] present how they transferred the Finnish government web service Finlex to a Linked Open Data Service for Finnish law and related judicial documents. The original Finlex service made already documents openly available. However, the data was provided only as traditional XML schema without considering the Linked Data principles. They show how to model legislation and court decisions in RDF. They demonstrate the usefulness of linked open data for content producers, application developers and data analysts.

In summary, there exist successful data collection efforts of legal documents across the world. However, in Germany, there is a clear gap.

Aletras et al. [3] present that NLP and ML techniques can be used to predict decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. They build a SVM model that predicts the decisions with a accuracy of 79% on average. As features sole textual representations of the case, i. e., N-grams, and topics, are used. As data source, Aletras et al. [3] rely on a small sub-set of 80-250 cases that were available for a particular articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. Lippi et al. [4] automatically evaluate terms of services of online platforms that is another resource of legal documents that is ubiquitous available.

References

  1. Michael Lissner: CourtListener.com: A platform for researching and staying abreast of the latest in the law. (2010).

  2. Matias Frosterus, Jouni Tuominen, and Eero Hyvönen: Facilitating Re-use of Legal Data in Applications - Finnish Law as a Linked Open Data Service. Legal Knowledge and Information Systems: JURIX 2014: The Twenty-Seventh Annual Conference (2014), 115–124.

  3. Nikolaos Aletras, Dimitrios Tsarapatsanis, Daniel Preotiuc-Pietro, Vasileios Lampos: Predicting judicial decisions of the European Court of Human Rights: a Natural Language Processing perspective. PeerJ Computer Science 2: e93 (2016)

  4. Marco Lippi, Przemyslaw Palka, Giuseppe Contissa, Francesca Lagioia, Hans- Wolfgang Micklitz, Giovanni Sartor, and Paolo Torroni: CLAUDETTE: an Automated Detector of Potentially Unfair Clauses in Online Terms of Service. arXiv (2018).