This opportunity is now closed.

Funded PhD Opportunity

Applying Natural Language Processing to the automated fact checking of legal documents

Subjects: Computer Science and Informatics and Computer Science and Informatics


Summary

A prospectus is a document by a corporation containing information on the character, nature, and purpose of an issue of shares, debentures, or other corporate Securities that extends an invitation to the public to purchase the securities.  It must contain all material facts relating to the company and its operations so that a prospective investor can make an informed decision as to the merit of the investment. An important aspect of a law firm’s work is the verification of the facts of each prospectus. Currently, this is an intensive manual task.

Given the large volume of data available in many of these prospectuses, the manual validation of facts can become unfeasible. This supports the requirement for research into tools to enable rapid accurate fact checking and contribute to time-savings in legal fact checking [1]. The aim is to extract and verify each fact in these legal texts and to create a broad set of enabling tools to assist legal workers in the verification of relevant facts. Knowledge acquisition rules, based on the linguistic treatment of specific aspects of legal documents will be key to improving the results in this task. Additionally, domain knowledge representation can provide an even broader set of possibilities. This research will create language models for addressing Information Extraction from texts in the legal domain combined with external publicly accessible document silos to verify statements. Automatic fact checking of legal documents allows for improvements in legal information retrieval system effectiveness [2-4]. However, there are still important issues to overcome so that these tools can fully meet their initial demands. One of these issues is related to the correct identification and representation of legal statements. Previous work is limited by an approach based on text processing without using important relationship descriptions available in the domain knowledge of the legal context and linguistic information. Even with initiatives, whose approach incorporates linguistic aspects in their design, it can be noted, however, that domain knowledge has not been incorporated.


Essential criteria

  • To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • First Class Honours (1st) Degree
  • Masters at 70%
  • For VCRS Awards, Masters at 75%
  • Publications - peer-reviewed

Funding

    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:

    Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

    Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

    Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,500 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

    Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Department for the Economy (DFE)

    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies


Other information


The Doctoral College at Ulster University


Reviews

Profile picture of Adrian Johnston

As Senior Engineering Manager of Analytics at Seagate Technology I utilise the learning from my PhD ever day

Adrian Johnston - PhD in Informatics

Watch Video  

Key dates

Submission deadline
Friday 7 February 2020

Interview Date
23 to 24 March 2020


Applying

Apply Online  


Campus

Magee campus

Magee campus
A key player in the economy of the north west


Contact supervisor

Professor Kevin Curran


Other supervisors

Related Funded Opportunities

Computing

Subject: Computer Science and Informatics

 View details

Computer vision for advertising analytics

Closing date:
Friday 28 February 2020
Subject: Computer Science and Informatics

 View details

Intelligent Systems

Subject: Computer Science and Informatics

 View details