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Networking European Legal Sites : Experiences and Challenges

Thursday 4 November 2004, by Aki Hietanen

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Mr. Aki Hietanen , Senior Adviser, Head of Information Services, Finlex Project Director, Department of Justice, Finland

The presentation discusses the paradox of the Legal Information Network in Europe. On the one hand, there is a global Internet community of local information services connected to each other. On the other hand, there are very few services available in the networking of European legal information sources.

The paper discusses the experiences in the networking of European legal information sources and the possibilities to improve the current situation. Firstly, three different projects are presented: EULEGIS (European Legal Information in a Structured Form), which was a research project financed by the European Commission in 1999-2001. EULEX has been a project on the texts of measures for the national transposition of Directives (it has been financed by the EU organization IDA, Interchange of Data between Administrations). Nat-Lex is an ongoing project on a common user interface for the national legislation databases of EU member states.

EULEGIS, EULEX and Nat-Lex all provide a Single Point of Access for legal information and the users do not have to know all the different interfaces to the legislative data sources. In EULEGIS and Nat-Lex also the search results are shown in a harmonised way. The most important challenges in the creation of a Legal Information Network in Europe are the standardization of national legal databases with Legal XML or LexML, and the broad multilingualism in the European Union (Eurovoc is not sufficient as a legal thesaurus). One major challenge is the lack of European case-law and the Nat-Curia. currently there is no access to Case-law of courts in EU Member States.

Networking European Legal Sites : Experiences and Challenges

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