In conjunction with
27 May, 2012
REVISED SUBMISSION DEADLINE FOR WORKSHOP: 19 February 2012
The legal domain represents a primary candidate for web-based information distribution, exchange and management, as testified by the numerous e-government, e-justice and e-democracy initiatives worldwide. The last few years have seen a growing body of research and practice in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Law which addresses a range of topics: automated legal reasoning and argumentation, semantic and cross-language legal information retrieval, document classification, legal drafting, legal knowledge discovery and extraction, as well as the construction of legal ontologies and their application to the law domain. In this context, it is of paramount importance to use Natural Language Processing techniques and tools that automate and facilitate the process of knowledge extraction from legal texts.
Since 2008, the SPLeT workshops have been a venue where researchers from the Computational Linguistics and Artificial Intelligence and Law communities meet, exchange information, compare perspectives, and share experiences and concerns on the topic of legal knowledge extraction and management, with particular emphasis on the semantic processing of legal texts. Within the Artificial Intelligence and Law community, there have also been a number of dedicated workshops and tutorials specifically focussing on different aspects of semantic processing of legal texts at conferences such as JURIX-2008, ICAIL-2009, ICAIL-2011, as well as in the International Summer School “Managing Legal Resources in the Semantic Web” (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011).
To continue this momentum and to advance research, a 4th Workshop on “Semantic Processing of Legal Texts” is being organized at the LREC-2012 conference to bring to the attention of the broader LR/HLT (Language Resources/Human Language Technology) community the specific technical challenges posed by the semantic processing of legal texts and also share with the community the motivations and objectives which make it of interest to researchers in legal informatics. The outcome of these interactions are expected to advance research and applications and foster interdisciplinary collaboration within the legal domain.
New to this edition of the workshop are two sub-events (described below) to provide common and consistent task definitions, datasets, and evaluation for legal-IE systems along with a forum for the presentation of varying but focused efforts on their development.
The main goals of the workshop and associated events are to provide an overview of the state-of-the-art in legal knowledge extraction and management, to explore new research and development directions and emerging trends, and to exchange information regarding legal language resources and human language technologies and their applications.
The first sub-event will be a shared task specifically focusing on dependency parsing of legal texts: although this is not a domain-specific task, it is a task which creates the prerequisites for advanced IE applications operating on legal texts, which can benefit from reliable preprocessing tools. For this year our aim is to create the prerequisites for more advanced domain-specific tasks (e.g. event extraction) to be organized in future SPLeT editions. We strongly believe that this could be a way to attract the attention of the LR/HLT community to the specific challenges posed by the analysis of this type of texts and to have a clearer idea of the current state of the art. The languages dealt with will be Italian and English. A specific Call for Participation for the shared task is available in a dedicated page.
The second sub-event will be an online, manual, collaborative, semantic annotation exercise, the results of which will be presented and discussed at the workshop. The goals of the exercise are: (1) to gain insight on and work towards the creation of a gold standard corpus of legal documents in a cohesive domain; and (2) to test the feasibility of the exercise and to get feedback on its annotation structure and workflow. The corpus to be annotated will be a selection of documents drawn from EU and US legislation, regulation, and case law in a particular domain (e.g. consumer or environmental protection). For this exercise, the language will be English. A specific Call for Participation for this annotation exercise is available in a dedicated page.
Areas of Interest
The workshop will focus on the topics of the automatic extraction of information from legal texts and the structural organisation of the extracted knowledge. Particular emphasis will be given to the crucial role of language resources and human language technologies.
Papers are invited on, but not limited to, the following topics:
LREC Conference Information (Accommodation, Travel, Registration)
Workshop Schedule – TBA
Workshop Registration and Location – TBA
Submissions are solicited from researchers working on all aspects of semantic processing of legal texts. Authors are invited to submit papers describing original completed work, work in progress, interesting problems, case studies or research trends related to one or more of the topics of interest listed above. The final version of the accepted papers will be published in the Workshop Proceedings.
Short or full papers can be submitted. Short papers are expected to present new ideas or new visions that may influence the direction of future research, yet they may be less mature than full papers. While an exhaustive evaluation of the proposed ideas is not necessary, insight and in-depth understanding of the issues is expected. Full papers should be more well developed and evaluated. Short papers will be reviewed the same way as full papers by the Program Committee and will be published in the Workshop Proceedings.
Full paper submissions should not exceed 10 pages, short papers 6 pages. See the style guidelines and files on the LREC site:
Submit papers to:
Submission for the workshop uses the START submission system at:
Note that when submitting a paper through the START page, authors will be asked to provide essential information about resources (in a broad sense, i.e. also technologies, standards, evaluation kits, etc.) that have been used for the work described in the paper or are a new result of your research. For further information on this new initiative, please refer to:
After the workshop a number of selected, revised, peer-reviewed articles will be published in a Special Issue on Semantic Processing of Legal Texts of the AI and Law Journal (Springer).
Address any queries regarding the workshop to:
Program Committee Co-Chairs:
Enrico Francesconi (National Research Center, Italy)
Simonetta Montemagni (National Research Center, Italy)
Wim Peters (University of Sheffield, UK)
Adam Wyner (University of Liverpool, UK)
Program Committee (Preliminary):
Kevin Ashley (University of Pittsburgh, USA)
Johan Bos (University of Rome, Italy)
Daniele Bourcier (Humboldt Universitat, Germany)
Pompeu Casanovas (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain)
Jack Conrad (Thomson Reuters, USA)
Matthias Grabmair (University of Pittsburgh, USA)
Antonio Lazari (Scuola Superiore S.Anna, Italy)
Leonardo Lesmo (Universita di Torino, Italy)
Marie-Francine Moens (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium)
Thorne McCarty (Rutgers University, USA)
Raquel Mochales Palau (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium)
Paulo Quaresma (Universidade de Evora, Portugal)
Tony Russell-Rose (UXLabs, UK)
Erich Schweighofer (Universitat Wien, Austria)
Rolf Schwitter (Macquarie University, Australia)
Manfred Stede (University of Potsdam, Germany)
Daniela Tiscornia (National Research Council, Italy)
Tom van Engers (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Giulia Venturi (Scuola Superiore S.Anna, Italy)
Vern R. Walker (Hofstra University, USA)
Radboud Winkels (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
By Adam Wyner
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