OASIS LegalDocumentML Technical Committee

The official charter for this Technical Committee is provided below. (For additional information, see the Call for Participation that was issued when this TC was formed.)

  1. Name of the TC:

    LegalDocumentML Technical Committee

  2. Statement of Purpose:

    Domains. The objectives of the LegalDocumentML (LegalDocML) Technical Committee (TC) are:

    • to promote a common legal document standard (based on Akoma Ntoso-UN [11], [12]) that promotes world-wide best practices for the use of XML within a Parliaments’, Assembly’s or Congress’s document management processes, within courts’ and tribunals’ judgment management systems, and generally in legal documents including contracts;
    • to collect requirements from the community of the stakeholders who create, manage and use legislative and legal documents (editors, libraries, public institutions, tribunals, publishers, etc.) in order to extend and refine the standard;
    • to promote growth of a community that supports the stakeholders in order to adopt LegalDocML locally;
    • to provide technical specifications and documentation in order to support the developers of tools and software applications relying on LegalDocML.

    Legislative and judicial information needs particular attention in order to capture and preserve legal knowledge when paper is de-materialized into digital resources [9]. Much legal knowledge is embedded in these documents and a specific approach is needed to prevent losses in the accompanying metadata which is often necessary for Parliamentary processing, judicial workflow, and contract management [2], [3], [4], [6], [13].

    An interdisciplinary virtuous circle is essential yet often missing from legislative/judicial/contractual drafting guidelines that take advantage of XML standards, from tools that help apply XML to legal content in day-by-day uses, from initiatives to improve the operations of Parliaments, Congresses and Courts, and from efforts to create innovation, transparency, assessment, and efficacy in the use of legal information [10].

    Legal culture, legislative traditions, political procedures, and legal principles have to be taken in consideration as the pillars in this domain, particularly as information and communication technology (ICT) opens new opportunities [7], [8].

    For these reasons, we need to set up an OASIS Technical Committee that, starting from the best legal practices and principles of legislative drafting, aims to model, represent, and manage legal documents as authorial, authentic, valid digital resources persistent over time (e.g. still accessible and valid after 100 years).

    Parliaments, Congresses, courts and tribunals need to invest in a robust, persistent, non-volatile legal document XML standard for representing legal documents, legislative and judiciary workflows (e.g. electronic court filing (ECF)), lifecycle events, legal metadata, modelling relationships with ontology and eventually with rules (e.g. LegalRuleML initiative started in OASIS, January 2012).

    For this reason, based on the success of Akoma Ntoso several Parliaments and tribunals have an urgent need to use a standardized format inside of a well-controlled workflow, supported by a strong management procedure, and developed within an accredited standards organization like OASIS.

    Interoperability of legal content is another positive side effect expected from this TC, especially in supra-order legislative systems (e.g. European Institutions) or between the Member States in Europe and among the Federate States (e.g. Brazil, USA, etc.).

  3. Scope of Work:

    The LegalDocML TC aims to achieve these strategic goals.

    1. To create a common legal document standard for the interchange of parliamentary, legislative and judicial documents between institutions anywhere in the world.
    2. To provide a format for long-term storage of and access to parliamentary, legislative and judicial documents that allows search, interpretation and visualization of documents.
    3. To create a common data and metadata model so that experience, expertise, and tools can be shared and extended by the participating peers, be they courts, Parliaments, Assemblies, Congresses or administrative branches of governments.
    4. To create a common mechanism for naming and linking resources (URI) so that documents produced by Parliaments and Courts can be easily cited and cross-referenced by other Parliaments, Courts or individual users.
    5. To be self-explanatory, that is to be able to provide any information for its use and meaning through a simple examination of schema and/or example documents, without the aid of specialized software.
    6. To be extensible, that is to allow modifications to the models within the AKOMA NTOSO framework so that local customisation can be achieved without sacrificing interoperability with other systems.

    The specifications of the standard will have the name "Akoma Ntoso" and also the root of the XML-schema will be "akomaNtoso". The name of the TC will be the OASIS LegalDocumentML(LegalDocML) Technical Committee.

    The LegalDocML TC will achieve compatibility with Akoma Ntoso 1.0., CEN/Metalex [1], applicable LegalXML vocabularies (e.g. eContracts) and possibly others that may come to the attention of the TC.

    Out of Scope:

    To develop tools.

  4. Deliverables

    The LegalDocML TC will provide the following set of deliverables:

    1. Standard specifications for Parliamentary or Congressional documents, within four months of the first TC meeting;
    2. Standard specifications for Judicial documents, within eighth months of the first TC meeting;
    3. Standard specifications for Contractual documents, within sixteen months of the first TC meeting;
    4. Legal Document Semantic Model specifications for long-term preservation, within twelve months of the first TC meeting;
    5. Pilot use cases — within twelve months of the first TC meeting;
    6. Tutorials and general documentation — continuously produced and updated during the entire process.

    Maintenance: Once the TC has completed work on a deliverable and it has become an OASIS Standard, the TC will enter "maintenance mode" for the deliverable. The purpose of maintenance mode is to provide minor revisions to previously adopted deliverables to clarify ambiguities, inconsistencies and obvious errors. Maintenance mode is not intended to enhance a deliverable or to extend its functionality.

    The TC will collect issues raised against the deliverables and periodically process those issues. Issues that request or require new or enhanced functionality shall be marked as enhancement requests and set aside. Issues that result in the clarification or correction of the deliverables shall be processed. The TC shall maintain a list of these adopted clarifications and shall periodically create a new minor revision of the deliverables including these updates. Periodically, but at least once a year, the TC shall produce and vote upon a new minor revision of the deliverables.

  5. IPR Model

    This TC will operate under the "RF (Royalty Free) on Limited Terms" IPR mode as defined in the OASIS Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy.

  6. Anticipated Audience

    The anticipated audience for this work includes:

    1. Parliaments, Assemblies and Congressional legislative offices and ICT departments;
    2. Tribunals and courts;
    3. Publishers in the legal domain;
    4. Companies and Agencies for managing contract documents;
    5. ICT companies that support Parliaments and Tribunals;
    6. The U.S. NIEM community for government domain rule management and representation
    7. The OASIS LegalXML MS and other OASIS entities that are providing input for and/or are planning to refer to LegalDocML from their specifications.
  7. Language:

    The output documents will be written in (US) English. TC meetings shall be conducted in English.


[1] Boer, A., Vitali, F., Palmirani, M., Retai, B.: CEN Metalex workshop agreement, 2009.
[2] EU Publications Office, Access to legislation in Europe, 2009.
[3] Gioele Barabucci, Luca Cervone, Monica Palmirani, Silvio Peroni, Fabio Vitali: Multi-layer Markup and Ontological Structures in Akoma Ntoso. AICOL Workshops 2009: 133-149
[4] Hietanen A.: Report on Electronic publishing of legislation — towards authenticity, 4th Euroepan Forum of Official Gazettes, June 2007, Tallinn.
[5] IFLA: Study Group on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, Functional requirements for bibliographic records: final report, 1998.
[6] Lupo C., Vitali F., Francesconi E., Palmirani M., Winkels R., de Maat E., Boer A., and Mascellani P.: General xml format(s) for legal sources - Estrella European Project IST-2004-027655. Deliverable 3.1, Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2007.
[7] Marchetti A., Megale F., Seta E., Vitali F.: Using XML as a means to access legislative documents (2002)
[8] Palmirani M., Contissa G., Rubino R.: Fill the Gap in the Legal Knowledge Modelling. RuleML 2009: 305-314.
[9] Palmirani M.: Long-term Preservation and Legal Validity of E-Law. In IRIS 2011 Conference, Salzburg (AU), February 23-26 2011. Wien (AU): Österreichische Computer Gesellschaft.
[10] Sartor G., Palmirani M., Francesconi E., Biasiotti M.: Legislative XML for the Semantic Web, Springer, 2011.
[11] Vitali F., Zeni, F.: Towards a Country-Independent Data Format: The AkomaNtoso Experience. Proceedings of the V Legislative XML Workshop, 67—86. European Press Academic Publishing,2007.
[12] Vitali F.: Akoma Ntoso Release Notes. [http://www.akomantoso.org]. Accessed 20 November 2011.
[13] World e-Parliament Report 2010, UNDESA, Durban, 2010.