About openlaws

openlaws helps you find legal information more easily, organize it the way you want and share it with others.

Together with you we create a network of legislation, case law, legal literature and legal experts – both on a national and a European level – leading to better access to legal information. The openlaws Internet platform is based on open data, open innovation and open source software. This means that openlaws integrates legal communities and IT communities in the design and in the operation of the system.

openlaws.eu is co-funded by the European Union / DG Justice.

So what’s different?

openlaws takes legal information systems beyond closed and static databases to an open and interactive level.

The rule of law is fundamental to all democratic states. The sheer growth of legal documents and their complexity make access to legal information burdensome. The Internet has made it a lot easier to search for legis- lation, case law and legal literature. There are growing numbers of online commercial and government data- bases to consult online. Today, Web technologies allow users to collaborate with each other, creating and sharing content. Personalized search and group profiles enable users to cater content to their needs. openlaws will take advantage of these new technologies in order to provide better access to legal information.

EU Project

openlaws is an EU project which is co-financed by the EU/DG Justice under action grant JUST/2013/JCIV/AG. The following institutions participate in the project:

  • University of Amsterdam (coordinator)
  • Salzburg University of Applied Sciences
  • University of Sussex
  • London School of Economics
  • Alpenite srl
  • BY WASS GmbH

Go to our team page.

Objectives

The main objectives of openlaws are:

  1. To create a clear BOLD Vision 2020 about what Big Open Legal Data (BOLD) could do in the year 2020 and propose a roadmap to implement it.
  2. To build a BOLD ICT Platform, based on open source software, which will be the first step to combine legal content and the knowledge and feedback of the community.

Key Activities

The following activities are planned to fulfil our objectives:

  1. We will do a comparative analysis of law, society and institutional developments towards the open access model, past developments and prognosis for the future (WS1).
  2. We will perform a socio-economic and technical analysis in order to propose a framework where different stakeholders can cooperate in an open access environment (WS2).
  3. We will develop and launch the BOLD ICT Platform for desktops, tablets and smartphones with open interfaces, interlinking open data (selected Member States and EU level), and add personalization and social web features to it, like highlighting, tagging, commenting, rating, sharing, publishing, etc. (WS3).
  4. We will engage the community so that they contribute to OpenLaws.eu and the BOLD ICT Platform by building social networks, sharing legal content, creating new content and metadata, etc. and we will disseminate our findings at conferences, in meetings, in scientific papers and in social media campaigns, and organize events in various EU Member States to raise awareness (WS4).

From the very beginning openlaws.eu will be open, so that even third parties from outside the partnership can participate. This open approach will also ensure cost-effectiveness.

Consortium

The consortium consists of an interdisciplinary group of highly qualified universities and SMEs from leading e-government member states. The University of Amsterdam and the University of Sussex are specialized in legal informatics, comparative law and governance. The London School of Economics and Political Science will cover the socio-economic part, while the Salzburg University of Applied Science will provide the system architecture. The Italian software SME Alpenite srl and the Austrian BY WASS GmbH, who are building the Austrian mobile legal information system together, will be in charge of the implementation, the dissemination and the user community engagement.

Mission

Our endeavour will help Europe to innovate in the legal field, provide better access for individuals, businesses, legal experts and public bodies, and create a network between them. OpenLaws.eu is well in line with the call, the European e-Justice Action Plan and the Europe 2020 growth strategy, including the Digital Agenda and the Innovative Union.