Since 2016, the Ministry of State’s Service central de législation (SCL) and Digital Luxembourg have been collaborating with the Interdisciplinary Center for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) at the University of Luxembourg on building the next generation of legal services using artificial intelligence.
The existing collaboration between SCL, Digital Luxembourg and SnT has now received a major boost from Luxembourg’s National Research Fund (FNR). Over the next three years, FNR will be contributing more than €450,000 towards expanding the collaboration. The grant from the FNR will be used for conducting innovative research on information extraction from legal texts through natural language processing and machine learning, and adding more machine-readable information to the legal texts.
One of the main goals of the collaboration is to make it possible to search through the content of legal texts, and extract information that is pertinent to legal compliance. A major source of difficulty and complexity is that compliance is not formulated in such a way that is readily understandable by machines. We are employing natural language processing and machine learning techniques to automatically extract compliance requirements from legal texts, and transform these requirements into precise rules. For example, a simple question like “What are the consequences if I drive too fast on a road that has a maximum speed limit of 30 km/h?” could be asked online and answered by machines.
The techniques being developed are useful not only to citizens, but also to judges and professionals, enabling them to quickly look up different offences defined by the law, and identify the sanctions stipulated for each offence.
In recent years, SCL has made strides in getting Luxembourg’s legal texts ready for the digital era. Particularly, in 2016, SCL started an ambitious plan to transform the country’s official legal database and the legal portal, Legilux.lu, into a modern electronic Official Journal, based on semantic web technologies and incorporating the European Legislation Identifier (ELI). ELI, to which SCL’s current Director, John Dann, has been a founding father, is an intuitive framework for naming and interconnecting legal resources. ELI has, to date, been adopted by more than a dozen countries, and holds the promise of providing a seamless link between legislative texts.