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Research

At the Legal Innovation Centre, researchers, legal practitioners and technologists work together to advance the frontier of legal technology, bringing new levels of process efficiency.

A core vision of the Legal Innovation Centre is on the research and development of computational law which is a branch of legal informatics focused on the automation and mechanization of legal analysis. We are also looking into automating information retrieval as it can reduce cost and often outperform manual searches in terms of accuracy.

Many of our projects focus on building systems, which allow stakeholders in the legal domain to connect and collaborate more efficiently. We achieve this through building on advances in the field of computer science with a wider goal of providing economic and social benefits by streamlining the interactions of law professionals in delivering legal services.


Automated Fact Checking

Project Lead: Dr Niall McCarroll

This project explores automated fact checking of legal documents using computational intelligence techniques where the aim is to extract and verify each fact in specific legal texts. Knowledge acquisition rules, based on the linguistic treatment of specific aspects of legal documents is 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 publically accessible document silos in order to verify statements. Automatic fact checking of legal documents allows for improvements in legal information retrieval system effectiveness.

This project builds on Ulster University's prior research into automated subtitling and language identification where we developed hidden markov models, lexicons and phoneme bi/tri-gram sequences for any natural language modelled (e.g. English). A core outcome was language models generated from lexicons, grammars and phoneme databases with training on spoken dialogue data.


Visual Law & Public Legal Education

Project Lead: Dr Catrina Denvir

This project is a joint endeavor between the Legal Innovation Centre, the University Law Clinic and students from the School of Art, focused on innovating in the Public Legal Education space. Adopting principles of ‘visual law’, this project explores how legal rights responsibilities and processes can be conveyed visually, in order to develop public legal education materials that are engaging, informative, jargon free, and easy to understand. More information about the project and emerging outputs are available here, on the project page.

Inspiration for this project has been drawn from the wonderful work undertaken by Margaret Hagan at Stanford Law School and her impressive Open Law Lab Project


Dark Data & Legal Analytics

Project Lead: Dr Catrina Denvir

Within organisations, data is often stored in a large number of different databases, client servers, and platforms. As intelligent systems evolve, become increasingly sophisticated, and more readily available to business consumers, there is a need to better understand the potential impact of organisational data management infrastructure, identify the existence of data silos, and assess what challenges this may present for the adoption of future technologies. This project looks at the implications of data siloing, and explore the ways in which dark data can be leveraged to provide valuable business insight and analytics.