A minimal Akoma Ntoso -based legal informatics toolchain
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README.md

Open Law

This project provides a toolset for the conversion and analysis of legislative, regulatory and judicial documents with the Akoma Ntoso legal document standard.

Rationale

"Ignorance of the law is no excuse," as the saying goes, but a majority of citizens, nationals and residents are not informed about the law due to its inaccessibility, cost, language, complexity, volume, and rapid change. The law shapes economics and society, and thus the majority are denied the full profits of their democratic labor.

Overcoming these barriers is a necessary step for true government and political transparency. This project can help do so by:

  • Providing standards-based retreival and presentation of the law over the World Wide Web.
  • Providing a minimal toolchain for analysis of legal information.

This project is not meant to exist alone in a vacuum. By taking advantage of a global community, this is meant as a working demonstration of the possibilities of this approach.

Components

Most programs are written in Python 3 and are run from the commandline. The akncat utility provides functionality similar to the UNIX cat utility but for Akoma Ntoso documents. There is also an NLTK corpus reader for natural language processing.

Development

Help by converting law—any law—into Akoma Ntoso XML!

Status

The legal dataset conversions are experimental, and should not be considered a faithful or official reproduction. They are currently non-conformant to the Akoma Ntoso standard and no tests are done for their validity or compatibility. Given the nature of the collection processes, e.g., lack of documentation, much has been interpreted and misinterpreted.

The current legal datasets have conversions to Akoma Ntoso:

  • United States Code
  • California codified statutes
  • Colorado Revised Statutes