How is the web changing the nature of public access to legislation? The Scythian Philosopher, Anacharsis, did not have the World Wide Web or legal informatics in mind when he compared written laws to spiders webs, but the simile is apposite. The web has been a force for massively democratising access to legislation and other legal materials. How does the public interact with primary sources of legislation as part of their engagement with legal systems and processes? What do they think they are looking at when they interact with legislation online or understand about the information they are viewing? This keynote address examines the role and expectations of a public legislation service from the perspective of legislation.gov.uk. It will explore the motivations and needs of users, as well as some of the unique challenges associated with delivering legislation online.
Web technologies provide the foundation for much of the current research in legal informatics. With legislation.gov.uk the UK Government has taken the first steps towards exposing the statute book as Linked Data, as part of the government's transparency agenda. The aim of transparency is to make government more accountable, through services such as data.gov.uk. This keynote address will describe areas of immediate and sometimes surprising utility of a Linked Data approach to the statute book. What is the role of a Linked Data Statute Book in a web of government data, such as that being nurtured by data.gov.uk? The talk will discuss the core elements of legislation.gov.uk that enable its use and exploitation as Linked Data and the role the statute book can play as a resource on the linked data web.
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