Artificial Intelligence and Law, 29:485–-539, February, 2021. Paper doi abstract bibtex
The European Union is working towards harmonizing legislation across Europe, in order to improve cross-border interchange of legal information. This goal is supported for instance via standards such as the European Law Identifier (ELI) and the European Case Law Identifier (ECLI), which provide technical specifications for Web identifiers and suggestions for vocabularies to be used to describe metadata pertaining to legal documents in a machine readable format. Notably, these ECLI and ELI metadata standards adhere to the RDF data format which forms the basis of Linked Data, and therefore have the potential to form a basis for a pan-European legal Knowledge Graph. Unfortunately, to date said specifications have only been partially adopted by EU member states. In this paper we describe a methodology to transform the existing legal information system used in Austria to such a legal knowledge graph covering different steps from modeling national specific aspects, to population, and finally the integration of legal data from other countries through linked data. We demonstrate the usefulness of this approach by exemplifying practical use cases from legal information search, which are not possible in an automated fashion so far.