ASAIL 2017: 2nd Workshop on Automated Semantic Analysis of Information in Legal Texts

The Second Workshop on Automated Detection, Extraction and Analysis of Semantic Information in Legal Texts (ASAIL) will be held in conjunction with ICAIL 2017: XVI International Conference on AI and Law, Friday June 16th 2017, London, UK. It is a continuation of the successful 2015 ASAIL workshop.

This workshop will bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars, academic and corporate researchers, legal practitioners, and legal service providers for an extended, collaborative discussion about applying natural language processing and machine learning to the semantic analysis of legal texts. Semantic analysis is the process of relating syntactic elements and structures, drawn from the levels of phrases, clauses, sentences, paragraphs, and whole documents, to their language-independent meanings in a given domain, including meanings specific to legal information. The range of focal texts includes:

  • statutes, regulations, and court-made pronouncements of legal rules embodying legal norms,
  • textual arguments in legal case opinions interpreting legal norms and applying them in concrete fact situations,
  • legislative and policy-based debates concerning proposed legal norms, their purpose and meaning,
  • actual and proposed contracts that need to be analyzed for the permissions and obligations they encode and their consistency with organizational preferences or legal frameworks.

Researchers have long been developing tools to aggregate, synthesize, structure, summarize, and reason about legal norms and arguments in texts. Recently, however, dramatic advances in natural language processing, text and argument mining, information extraction, and automated question answering are changing how automatic semantic analysis of legal rules and arguments will be performed in the future. The discussion will include, but will not be limited to, retrieving documents with varying concepts of relevance, extracting legal norms from retrieved documents, and extracting various sorts of arguments. A priority will be given to topics that discuss both natural language texts and methods of representation or analysis.

Covered Topics

  • Application of NLP to analyze arguments in legal texts: identification, annotation, and extraction of argument elements; relating arguments; and classifying arguments
  • Automated or semi-automated approaches to extracting legal norms from legal texts
  • Creation/evaluation of high quality annotated natural language legal corpora
  • Automated semantic analysis of legal texts
  • Development of computer-supported annotation environments for automated semantic analysis of legal texts
  • Applications of machine learning to train automatic systems on tasks related to semantic analysis of legal texts, identifying legal norms, or extracting legal argumentation
  • Summarization, visualization, and information retrieval for legal texts
  • Argument mining of court cases, legislative records, legal policy debates and other legal documents
  • Automated translations of legal text to formal or abstract representations that can be used for reasoning
  • Applications of computational models of legal argumentation to guide interpretation of legal texts
  • Application of linguistic theories of syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and discourse to legal texts
  • Adaptation of NLP tools to the particularities of legal texts
  • Implications of the above developments for law students and legal education

Papers Solicited
We invite papers on and demonstrations of original work on these and other aspects of automated detection, extraction and analysis of semantic information in legal texts. Two types of papers are solicited:

  • full research papers (10 pages in the approved style) and
  • short position papers (5 pages in the approved style).

A Program Committee will review both types of papers using the conference review system. Submissions will be evaluated on appropriateness for this call, originality of the research described and technical quality. Authors of selected papers will be invited to present the papers at the Workshop: 30-minute presentations (including 10 minutes of questions) for full research papers and 15-minute presentations for position papers (including 5 minutes of questions)

Workshop Format
The workshop day, June 16, will begin with a brief tutorial on natural language processing. The remainder of the morning session will be a series of paper presentations and subseqent discussions. If a sufficient number of quality papers are received, the workshop may extend through the afternoon and include an invited speaker.

Authors should submit their papers using Easychair and use the ACM paper templates. While papers can be prepared using LaTeX or Word, all papers should be converted to PDF prior to submission.

Important Dates
Submissions due: Friday, April 21, 2017 ***Extended Deadline: April 28, 2017 ***
Authors are strongly encouraged to submit an early abstract of their submission by April 14 on Easychair.
Accept/Reject notification: May 12, 2015

Publication Opportunities
Selected papers will be published in a special issue of the journal of Artificial Intelligence and Law. Based on the Program Committee’s reviews, authors of selected papers will be invited to expand their papers and submit them for an additional round of reviews and revisions with the goal of publication of a special issue.


  • Kevin D. Ashley, ashley at pitt dot edu
  • Matthias Grabmair, mgrabmai at andrew dot cmu dot edu

Organizing Committee

  • Kevin D. Ashley, University of Pittsburgh
  • Katie Atkinson, University of Liverpool
  • Karl Branting, MITRE Corporation
  • Enrico Francesconi, Italian National Research Council (ITTIG-CNR), Publications Office of the European Union
  • Matthias Grabmair, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Marc Lauritsen, Capstone Practice Systems, Inc.
  • Vern R. Walker, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University
  • Adam Zachary Wyner, University of Aberdeen
  • Program Committee

    • Kevin D. Ashley, University of Pittsburgh, USA
    • Katie Atkinson, University of Liverpool, USA
    • Floris Bex, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
    • Karl Branting, MITRE Corporation, USA
    • Travis Breaux, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
    • Enrico Francesconi, Italian National Research Council (ITTIG-CNR), Publications Office of the European Union
    • Matthias Grabmair, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
    • Nancy Green, University of North Carolina Greensboro, USA
    • Graeme Hirst, University of Toronto, Canada
    • Marie-Francine Moens, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
    • Mi-Young Kim, University of Alberta, Canada
    • Marc Lauritsen, Capstone Practice Systems, Inc., USA
    • Tran Thi Oanh, Vietnam National University, Vietnam
    • Wim Peters, University of Sheffield, UK
    • Jaromir Savelka, University of Pittsburgh, USA
    • Akira Shimazu, School of Information Science, JAIST, Japan
    • Giulia Venturi, Istituto di Linguistica Computazionale (ILC-CNR), Italy
    • Vern R. Walker, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, USA
    • Bernhard Waltl, Technical University Munich, Germany
    • Adam Zachary Wyner, University of Aberdeen, UK

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