Second International Workshop on LEGAL ONTOLOGIES

13 December 2001, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Organised in conjunction with JURIX 2001: the 14th Annual International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems[1]

In 1997 we held the First International Workshop on Legal Ontologies in conjunction with the Sixth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law at the University of Melbourne, Australia[2]. It was a successful workshop in which 8 papers were presented on issues ranging from proposals for legal (core) ontologies, through the comparison of different ontologies, to means of building them automatically from legal sources.

Since then, much research has been done, especially in the broader fields of ontological engineering and knowledge management, systems using (legal) ontologies have been built, and both practical and theoretical problems and opportunities have been encountered. It seems like a good time to have a follow-up workshop for the legal domain.

Workshop Aims

The intended format of the workshop is to have short presentations which will serve as a starting point for extended discussion. We asked for short papers and position statements addressing all aspects of legal ontologies, but as a source of inspiration some potential issues were presented:

1.       Tools and languages for constructing and maintaining large legal ontologies: Support for (semi-)automatic ontology construction; support for validating ontologies; the use of (Legal)XML, RDF

  1. (Re)use of legal and other ontologies in building legal knowledge and information systems: How to decide which ontologies are useful; setting up libraries of legal ontologies
  2. Comparison of different (legal) ontologies: Criteria for comparison; reasons for or benefits from ontology comparison

4.       Legal ontologies in practice: experiences with systems in legal practice that are based on or use legal ontologies


The authors are asked to try to use the following format for presenting their work, if applicable:

  1. Is the ontology being used in an application?
  2. What level is the ontology ('top', 'core' or 'domain')?
  3. What representation language is used?
  4. What is the 'ontology' of this language?
  5. Was part of it already re-used?
  6. Were existing ontologies used?
  7. Were tools used to build it? If so, which one(s)?
  8. How large is the ontology (# of concepts and relations)?
  9. Why is the approach taken better than the already existing ones?
  10. Is it available? (for a library of legal ontologies)




Short 10 minute presentations of all contributions






Sub group discussions



Plenary report of sub groups


1.       L. Mommers: A knowledge-based ontology of the legal domain

2.       A. Gangemi, D.M. Pisanelli & G. Steve: A Formal Ontology Framework to Represent Norm Dynamics

3.       T.J.M. Bench-Capon: Task Neutral Ontologies, Common Sense Ontologies and Legal Information Systems

4.       M. Muller: Legal RDF Dictionary

5.       J. Lehmann: Specifying Knowledge for Reasoning about Causation and Assessing Legal Responsibility

6.       G. Lame: Constructing an IR oriented legal ontology

7.       A. Boer, R. Hoekstra & R. Winkels: The CLIME Ontology.

8.       M. Apistola, L. Mommers & A. Lodder: A Knowledge Management Exercise in the domain of Sentencing: towards an XML Specification

9.   H. Stuckenschmidt, E. Stubkjśr & Ch. Schlieder: Modeling Land Transactions: Legal Ontologies in Context

10.   J. Zeleznikow and A. Stranieri: An Ontology for the Construction of Legal Decision Support Systems

Workshop Organizers

Dr. Radboud Winkels

Drs. Tom van Engers

Dr. Trevor Bench-Capon

Department of Computer Science & Law
Univ. of Amsterdam, PO Box 1030
1000 BA Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Fax: +31 20 5253485

Dutch Tax and Customs Administration
Utrecht, The Netherlands

Department of Computer Science
Univ. of Liverpool, PO Box 147
Liverpool L69 7ZF, U.K.

Last update: 10 December 2001

[1] See for more details

[2] See for more details