A Semi-automated Ontology Construction for Legal Question Answering

Biralatei J. Fawei* (Corresponding Author), Jeff Z Pan, Martin Kollingbaum, Adam Z Wyner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


The internet and the development of the semantic web have created the opportunity to provide structured legal data on the web. However, most legal information is in text. It is difficult to automatically determine the right natural language answer about the law to a given natural language question. One approach is to develop systems of legal ontologies and rules. Our example ontology represents semantic information about USA criminal law and procedure as well as the applicable legal rules. The purpose of the ontology is to provide reasoning support to a legal question answering tool that determines entailment between a pair of texts, one known as the background information (Bg) and the other question statement (Q), so whether Bg entails Q based on the application of the legal rules. The key contribution of this paper is the methodology and the semi-automated legal ontology generation tool, a clear and well-structured methodology that serves to develop such criminal law ontologies and rules (CLOR).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-478
Number of pages15
JournalNew Generation Computing
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2019

Bibliographical note

Open Access via Springer Compact Agreement.


  • ontology
  • legal rules
  • bar examination


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