Building Datalex Decision Support Systems: A Tutorial on Rule-Based Reasoning in Law
21 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2017 Last revised: 13 Jul 2018
Date Written: September 4, 2017
This tutorial aims to provide a practical introduction to rule-based inferencing (reasoning) systems in law, developed using AustLII’s DataLex software, and utilising the web as a platform. It covers the development of a backward and forward chaining rule-base; publishing and running a rule-base on AustLII’s DataLex community website; integration of rule-bases with hypertext and search resources on AustLII and elsewhere; and ‘co-operative inferencing’ (rule-bases by different authors distributed across web sites but operating in tandem). Document generation and case-based inferencing using the DataLex software is also covered in brief.
From mid-2017, AustLII is integrating and further developing a set of tools, and development approaches, for the purpose of building legal decision support systems. These include the DataLex inferencing software, the AustLII Communities framework for development of both inferencing applications and supporting interpretative materials, and methods of integration with AustLII’s databases. Together, these make up the DataLex legal decision support system.
The primary purpose for which this system is being developed is to assist providers of free legal advice to develop sustainable free legal advisory systems to assist them (and their clients) in their work. The DataLex software is not at this stage being provided as open source software, but rather as ‘free use for free legal advice providers’.
The Tutorial is a working document and will be revised regularly. Users should check whether an updated version is available on SSRN or AustLII.
Keywords: AustLII, DataLex, AI and law, legal expert systems, document generation
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