CFP: Is Law (just) Code? Natural Language Processing and Law - IVR Congress Special Workshop

Submission deadline: February 29, 2024

Conference date(s):
July 7, 2024 - July 12, 2024

Go to the conference's page

This event is available both online and in-person

Conference Venue:

International Association for the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy
Seoul, South Korea


Special Workshop title: Is Law (just) Code? Natural Language Processing and Law

Is Law a complex social fact or is it a system of norms? The recent developments in theory and philosophy of law suggest that it can also be perceived as a code. The promise that the "Law as a Code" paradigm makes is improving the rule-making, securing transparency of judiciary and decision-making, reducing or even eliminating tedious and costly activities in legal counselling, and - finally - revolutionizing legal research as such. Is this a promise to be kept?

Undoubtedly, adopting such approach to law requires making the law machine-readable, and therefore computational, seen both as a linguistic utterance and a set of logical rules. What are the tools to analyze the law in this way and which methods are to be applied? What assumptions about law do we need to make to allow for its computational analysis? How do these methods grant us epistemic access to the law and what evidence do we have that they render good results? What are the consequences of applying computational methods in legal science and in legal practice?

As part of the proposed special workshop, we seek to take a broader look at what Natural Language Processing of legal texts brings to the research and practice of law: its philosophical foundations, but also the changes it causes in the philosophy of law; social control over automated processes as well as the impact of NLP on society; increasing accessibility of NLP and diffusion of no- or low-code programming (due to, e.g., Large Language Models); the validity of traditional theoretical concepts, the challenge to accommodate human rights framework, as well as ways to achieve synergy between legal scholars, legal practitioners, and NLP specialists. We are also interested in the critical approaches as to the application of NLP in law. Our goal is to create a platform for discussing diverse views regarding this topic.

We would like to propose the following research topics to elaborate on these issues. Individual interpretations of the suggested topics are also welcomed:

1. Analytical jurisprudence vs NLP: the end or the new beginning for analytical philosophers of law?
2. Challenges posed by NLP for the theories of legal interpretation.
3. Justifying claims in legal science using NLP.
4. Methods of NLP - does the law need specific treatment?
5. Application of NLP - what are its conditions of success?
6. Epistemic access to law via NLP.
7. Automated determination of legal situations - what is at stake?
8. Does NLP affect human rights?
9. Law as Code, Code as Law, Code is Law - is it gobbledygook yet?
10. Predicting outcomes of legal cases using NLP.
11. Corpus linguistics and law.
12. Using NLP to improve the methods of legal interpretation.
13. Retrieving legal provisions from large normative corpora.
14. What does NLP miss? Critical approaches to applying NLP in law.

We would like to ask the Congress participants interested in participating in our workshop to submit a short abstract of up to 400 words by the 29th of February (EOD, GMT+1) and fill out the registration form provided on the IVR 2024 website according to the schedule provided by the Conference Organizing Committee. Applications containing basic personal data together with abstracts are to be sent to [email protected].

We plan to inform the selected speakers about the specific program of the workshop by the end of March.

Special Workshop is prepared within the framework of a research project funded by the National Science Centre, Poland, PRELUDIUM 20, Grant number 2021/41/N/HS5/02507.

Also, Special Workshop is proudly partnering with the Adam Mickiewicz University’s Summer Institute in Computational Social Sciences - SICSS/AMU-Law 2024, more info (2024 edition soon to be published):

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