Last Thursday, LII Director Tom Bruce gave the inaugural talk in a series of workshops on legal information hosted by the University of Montreal’s CRDP. Invited (and on occasion provoked) by old LII friend Daniel Poulin (pictured here), the founder of the LexUM legal-informatics research group and of CanLII, Bruce spoke about the initial vision for open access to legal information, its flaws, and the realities of the present day. The general challenge now, he said, is similar to that posed by behavioral economics. Our formal notions about how legal information is generated, structured, and searched are useful so far as they go, but in some respects fail to take note of what it is that people actually do. This poses important challenges for our thinking about legal research in general, and document modelling in particular.
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