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Last modified: April 11, 2003
Legal XML Working Group

[March 28, 2002]   LegalXML Group Joins OASIS.    In an effort to "align the development of specifications for legal data exchange with the global standards community at-large, the LegalXML standards group has joined the OASIS consortium. By migrating its work to OASIS, LegalXML secures its representation within the consortium known for setting adoptable worldwide standards for electronic business, Web services and security. The alliance brings new resources and international awareness to LegalXML's work on specifications for electronic court filing, court documents, legal citations, transcripts, criminal justice intelligence systems, and others. Under the new organizational structure, members of LegalXML will join OASIS and be eligible to contribute to all OASIS technical work. Existing OASIS members will have the option to participate in LegalXML without additional membership dues. OASIS will host open mail lists for public comment on LegalXML technical committees, and completed work will be freely available to the public without licensing or other fees." [Full context]

[January 23, 2003] LegalXML Technical Committees
The LegalXML Member Section website provides a brief description of the active TCs. As of 2003-01-23:

[January 23, 2003]   OASIS LegalXML Member Section Forms Lawful Intercept XML Technical Committee.    A new Lawful Intercept XML Technical Committee has been formed within the OASIS LegalXML Member Section, supporting the activities of the seven existing LegalXML TCs. The TC is chartered to produce a structured, end-to-end LegalXML Lawful Interception Process framework consisting of XML standards and authentication mechanisms, including the development and harmonization of identifiable related XML standards and XML translations of ASN.1 modules, including proprietary ones made available in accordance with IPR policies. The TC members hope to "develop a universal global framework for supporting rapid discovery and sharing of suspected criminal and terrorist evidence by law enforcement agencies. The LI-XML Technical Committee was formed to meet critical needs emerging from several national and intergovernmental mandates around the world, including the recently passed United States Homeland Security Information Sharing Act of 2002, the new Lawful Intercept additional protocol of the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, and e-Government mandates in Europe and the United States." The TC Chair is Anthony M. Rutkowski (Verisign).

[July 30, 2002]   OASIS LegalXML Member Section Creates Four New Technical Committees.    Four new technical committees are being formed to support the standards activity of the OASIS LegalXML Member Section, complementing work currently underway in the LegalXML Electronic Court Filing TC. The LegalXML Member Section "unites legal and technical experts in a common forum to create standards for the electronic exchange of legal data." According to the new published charters for the OASIS TCs: (1) The eContracts Technical Committee will develop open XML standards for the markup of contract documents to enable the efficient creation, maintenance, management, exchange and publication of contract documents and contract terms. (2) The eNotarization TC has been chartered to develop an agreed set of technical requirements to govern self-proving electronic legal information. (3) The Integrated Justice TC plans to develop XML specifications for exchanging data among justice system branches and agencies. While its principal focus will be on data pertaining to criminal cases, its scope will include certain data exchanges in civil cases, such as civil protection order, child support enforcement and dependency and neglect cases. (4) The Transcripts TC will develop an XML compliant syntax for representing legal transcript documents either as stand-alone structured content, or as part of other legal records. [Full context]

[September 21, 2000] "Founded in November 1998, Legal XML is a non-profit organization comprised of volunteer members from private industry, non-profit organizations, government, and academia. The mission of Legal XML is to develop open, non-proprietary technical standards for legal documents and related applications. There are currently [2000-09] 651 members, many of whom actively participate in Workgroups to develop or promote standards. There are 516 Participants and 135 Observers."

Scope: 'Legal XML has both a theoretical and practical scope. Theoretically, every electronic document that can be categorized as 'legal' is within the scope of Legal XML. Practically, however, it would be impossible to describe all legal documents in XML all at once or even in a short time. Further, there must be a balance between creating technically competent and extensible standards and meeting short-term market demands. The development process must be modest and iterative. As a result, there is a practical limit to Legal XML's scope. Theoretically, the Legal XML 'domain' can be divided 'vertically' and 'horizontally' into various 'subdomains.' For instance, vertical subdomains include, but are not limited to, Court Filings, Transcripts, Judicial Decisions, Public Law (e.g., legislation, bills, statutes), Private Law (e.g., contracts, wills), and Publications (e.g., legal books, law journals). Horizontal subdomains include Citations, General Vocabulary (e.g., names, addresses), and Logical Document Structure (e.g., root elements, tables, outlines, paragraphs, signatures, general structural methodology). Horizontal subdomains cut across vertical subdomains. For example, citations will be found in Court Filings, Case Law, Public Law and Private Law documents. There is no need to recreate citation mark-up for each vertical subdomain; instead, the same citation markup can be used in all subdomains. Among other things, Legal XML seeks to harmonize and coordinate the various horizontal and vertical subdomains within the larger legal community. Practically, Legal XML scope is determined pragmatically. If there is a group of individuals willing to work to develop legal XML in any particular subdomain, then that subdomain is within the practical scope of Legal XML. That is, if a group of people exist who are willing to do the work that falls within Legal XML's theoretical scope, then Legal XML will help to facilitate and support the work.'

[September 1999] A small group named the XML Work Group has been formed within the scope of the Utah Electronic Law Project, together with Georgia State University (GSU), which hosts the Georgia State University Electronic Court Filing Project. "The purpose of the XML Work Group is to develop one or more model Document Type Definitions (DTDs) for the filing and exchange of legal documents using the recently released XML standards. The XML Work Group is a recently-formed virtual work group made up of individuals interested in exploring the use of XML standards as the basis for facilitating the electronic filing and exchange of legal documents. The group will function almost entirely in an electronic environment hosted by the Utah Electronic Law Project (UELP) ( using tools such as e-mail, chat rooms, threaded discussion forums, list serves and similar tools."

Earlier references

  • [February 20, 2002] From the LegalXML website: "The OASIS Board, in a letter from OASIS' President and CEO, Patrick Gannon, has invited LegalXML to become a member section in OASIS. The LegalXML Board of Directors has unanimously recommended accepting the invitation... Don Bergeron, chair of the Board of Directors, distributed the following information to the LegalXML membership: (1) Introductory Message from Don Bergeron; (2) OASIS Invitation Letter; (3) OASIS Board Resolution; (4) Rules of Procedure; (5) Details of the OASIS Invitation." [cache]

  • LEXML: Austria, Netherlands, Germany

  • Overview, [cache 2000-09-27]

  • Workgroups

  • Legal XML Operating Rules

  • "Legal XML: New Standards for Legal Documents." by Eddie O'Brien. In National Court Reporter Association [quarterly magazine] May 2000. [cache]

  • XML Standards Development Project Electronic Court Filing Draft Specification. Proposed standard. Reference: PS_10001_2000_07_24. "This Draft Specification provides the XML DTD required for Court Filing." See also the illustrated/annotated version of the DTD. [cache]

  • Working Group Description. May 1998.

  • [March 27, 2002] "LegalXML Joins OASIS." 2002-03-27 communiqué from Patrick Gannon (OASIS President and CEO) to OASIS Membership: "We are happy to announce that the LegalXML Consortium has become the newest OASIS Member Section. Since 1998, LegalXML has united standards development within the legal community, bringing technical and legal experts together in a common forum. Its members work to develop standardized structures, vocabularies and data exchange protocols for legal documents such as court filings, citations, contracts, and transcripts. LegalXML members include lawyers, developers, application vendors, government agencies and members of academia. Several existing OASIS members, including Reed Elsevier and Thomson Corporation, are active participants of LegalXML. Under the new agreement, LegalXML will adopt the OASIS technical process, bylaws and IRP Policy. Members of LegalXML will join OASIS and be eligible to contribute to all OASIS technical work. As existing OASIS members, you will have the option to participate in LegalXML technical committees without additional membership dues. LegalXML expands the breadth of the OASIS technical agenda in an exciting way. We understand that in today's economy, it's not practical to expect you to join a multitude of consortia in order to participate in all the relevant standards development being done. At OASIS, we strive to give you many opportunities for involvement within one organization. Please join me in welcoming LegalXML to the OASIS community..."

  • XML at the 7th Annual Court Technology Conference. August 16-18, 2001, Baltimore, MD. "Expanded XML Program: Extensible Markup Language or XML is creating quite a stir in the court and legal community. CTC7 is putting a special emphasis on XML by providing plenty of opportunities to learn about this exciting new technology. These programs include: (1) XML Overview - a two day Institute for Court Management Class that will be held on Sunday, August 12 and Monday, August 13 prior to CTC7. (2) Session 402: Legal & Court XML Standards - Now and Future taught by the founding director of LegalXML, Todd Vincent. (3) Session 404: What is XML and Why Should I Care? taught by Robin Gibson, web manager for CourtXML and Manager, Planning, Development and Court Automation, Office of State Courts Administrator, Jefferson City, Missouri. (4) Session 601: Developing Web-based Protection Order Databases for Cross-Jurisdictional Enforcement taught by Susan Keilitz, Consultant, Williamsburg, Virginia and a team from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (5) Session 603: New Ideas in Justice Information Sharing taught by Larry Webster and Kelly Harris of SEARCH Group. (6) XML SIG: Once again the lively XML special interest group session will be held. (7) CourtXML Meeting The CourtXML working group of LegalXML is once again planning to meet following the conference on Friday, August 17.

  • [December 28, 2001] "LEXML: A Network Community for XML and the Law." By Cecilia Magnusson Sjöberg (Professor of Law and IT, Faculty of Law, Stockholm University; email: In InterChange [ISUG Newsletter] Volume 7, Number 4 (December 2001), pages 8-10. The article surveys recent efforts to coordinate law-related XML activities, including the LEXML communities. LEXML has been confirmed as the 'European Network for XML' in the legal domain, as explained by Cecilia Magnusson Sjöberg. From the mission statement announced at the Berlin XML 2001 meeting: "(1) LEXML has been established to serve the growing interest in automated exchange of legal data. It serves as an open forum for the legal domain to exchange ideas and experiences associated with XML and related core standards. (2) LEXML is a point of co-ordination and a workforce for the development of standardized structures, vocabularies and data exchange tools. Lexml pursues its goals in particular through the development of a global legal data model and the development of an open source legal office program, which speaks and understands XML. (3) LEXML is a network of independently organised communities, which may be jurisdiction oriented (like Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden) or subject-matter oriented. It is decentralized, with a peer to peer approach. Anyone can start a LEXML community. (4) LEXML may also be described as a network of websites linked together so as to compose a true information resource within the European legal domain. The communities stay in contact through mailinglists, meetings and by jointly working on cross-jurisdictional projects." Web sites have been set up in Austria, the Netherlands, and Germany; a Swedish LEXML site is also being constructed. For other references, see the papers presented at the Berlin meeting (May 2001).

  • [June 12, 2001] "State Courts Look to Pass Judgment on XML. Document-encoding technology seen by some in legal community as key to electronic filing services." By Ellen Messmer. In Network World Volume 18, Number 23 (June 04, 2001), page 10. "Lawyers, courts and legal cases generate mountains of paperwork, but a few states have taken the ground-breaking step to allow electronic filing of documents directly to court Web sites for processing over their intranets. While e-filing is catching on in states such as Georgia, New Mexico, California and Washington, the process of managing legal documents online raises thorny questions about the need for signatures, common security practices and technical standards for interoperability in document exchange. Counties today take varying approaches to e-filing, but there is a growing consensus that the document-encoding technology called XML can be the basis for statewide - and perhaps even nationwide - electronic filing. Georgia has led the charge, as its judiciary and universities have devised an XML tagging specification for the courts dubbed Legal XML. The specification will go on trial next week as four Georgia courts and four e-filing services show how it can be used to transmit XML-based documents to court servers and to competing e-filing services. These courts and document clearinghouses today can't easily share electronic documents. But the use of format-neutral XML tags encoded around content is expected to make it easier to process information received over the Internet as long as the application server receiving it supports XML, too... Georgia hopes to complete the testing of Legal XML by August, and if it works out, it's likely to be required for use in courts statewide. In addition, backers of Legal XML formed a nonprofit organization last winter (see to promote it as a national standard... 'The XML language is the most powerful I've seen to help us accelerate use of e-filing,'" says Bob March, clerk of court at the U.S. District Court in New Mexico, which has used e-filing for about three years. The New Mexico court is redesigning its court management system to support XML. The court in Albuquerque has a T-1 line for receiving legal documents processed through the @court hosted service for receipt by 14 judges..."

  • [October 01, 2000] "Electronic Court Filing: Past, Present, and Future." By Robert Plotkin. In Boston Bar Journal (May/June 2000). "Despite the growing use of computers in the legal profession, authoring and filing legal pleadings remains a labor-intensive process that has yet to fully benefit from the potential for automation offered by recent advances in computer technology. Efforts are underway, however, to computerize virtually every aspect of court filing and case management. Several courts and government agencies have already begun to supplement or replace their paper-based filing systems with electronic filing systems that allow pleadings to be filed over the Internet. Some systems also allow parties to access their case files and the court's docket over the Internet. These early systems, although rudimentary, are already facilitating interactions with the courts and are allowing attorneys and courts to recognize significant cost savings. The electronic filing systems of tomorrow will further automate the filing process and integrate computer systems for filing, case management, docketing, storage, and security. Electronic filing systems have the potential to: (1) simplify and standardize the process of filing court documents; (2) greatly reduce the amount of resources devoted to paper file generation, manipulation, storage, and retrieval; (3) reduce errors in copying and transcription; and (4) facilitate access to and sharing of court documents. A large and growing number of legal and computer professionals have recognized the potential benefits that would result from the widespread adoption of electronic court filing systems, and are actively working on developing nationwide open technological standards for electronic court filing. Although current efforts to develop standards must still overcome several technological, legal, and cultural hurdles, significant progress has already been made toward the goal of developing the foundation for the next generation of electronic filing systems. The success of such efforts will require the continued and growing involvement of all segments of the legal profession. [...] A number of efforts are already underway to develop XML-based standards and systems for electronic filing. For example, Rich Himes of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico has developed the XML Court Interface (XCI), an XML-based electronic filing system. The National Center for State Courts, in conjunction with Lexis-Nexis, has published a draft paper entitled "Concepts for a Judicial XML Namespace & Data Tag Dictionary" that outlines the beginnings of an XML-based legal document format. The Washington State Bar has an XML Study Group that is promoting the development of XML-based standards. The Joint Technology Committee (JTC) of the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) and the National Association of Court Managers (NACM) is working on developing a Joint Federal and State Court XML Standard for electronic court case filing. Last year the JTC partnered with Legal XML to jointly develop XML court filing standards. Legal XML, which is currently the primary locus of XML-based standards activity, is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 and comprised of volunteer members from private industry, non-profit organizations, government, and academia. Legal XML's mission is to develop open, non-proprietary technical standards for legal documents and related applications. Although the standards proposed by Legal XML have no binding force, the organization is working to establish its credibility through the breadth and depth of its membership and the quality of the standards it will promulgate. Membership in the organization is open to anyone, but active participation in the development of proposed standards requires agreement to the organization's Operating Rules which, in relevant part, require that participants relinquish any intellectual property claims to subject matter that is contributed to and included in proposed standards..."

  • "Concepts for a Judicial XML Namespace and Data Tag Dictionary." By James E. McMillan (National Center for State Courts) and Stephanie Rondenell (Alpha Consulting Group, Inc.). Sponsored by Lexis-Nexis. Draft 1.0. May, 1999. "The purpose of this report is to first, provide a compilation of data elements currently being used in court management database systems in the United States in 1999. This second purpose is to apply concepts used in database normalization and in Electronic Data Interchange standards definition such as ANSI X.12 and UNI-FACT. By applying these concepts we believe that it will be possible to define an initial eXtensible Markup Language (XML) namespace/data tag dictionary (DTD) for use by the courts. This proposed DTD is not intended to be a complete or comprehensive standard at this time. This is primarily because of our limited understanding of XML and all of it's variants. However, it is hoped that by providing this starting point, a standard namespace for court data can be created in the near future. Two additional caveats before we begin. First, this report also does not explore the tags necessary to format the style or document output format. Second, the report also does not try to identify tags necessary for marking knowledge concepts that are necessary to build indexing or decision support systems. This is work for a future time... This part of the report is intended to qualify the work that was done on the project. The most important sections of the report are the appendices. Those sections contain links to the posted Excel spreadsheet sources for the compiled case management data fields and the first draft of the initial proposed namespace DTD. We have also included my compiled series of articles from The Court Technology Bulletin on case management systems and links to appropriate Electronic Data Interchange internet resources. To understand the data table roll up and the namespace compilation one needs to recognize the underlying relationality of the data. Ms. Stephanie Rondenell collected more than a dozen court case management system data dictionaries. Some of these dictionaries were from older hierarchical types systems and some were from newer relational database systems. She then compiled these data dictionaries into three Microsoft Excel 97/2000 spreadsheets: Criminal, Civil, and Juvenile..."

  • [California WG] The California e-filing standards effort adopts the conceptual model advanced in the Legal XML forum and elsewhere; The components of this model are: (1) EFP, Electronic Filing Provider. These are front end applications developed for various legal market segments, marketed and supported primarily by private sector enterprises. Customers licensing or subscribing to an EFP product or service presumably get a consistent look and feel. An EFP application should be capable of interacting with any California trial court's CMS by virture of the Legal XML Court Filing standard. (2) EFM, Electronic Filing Manager. The EFM is software ('middleware' to some) that exchanges XML documents with any number of EFPs, parses it, passes data to a CMS or XML to the EFP, and provides persistent storage of documents and images (as in a Document Management System). To the extent that XML DTDs, schemas, or RDFs are standardized statewide (which is our objective), any EFP should be able to talk to any EFM, and there need be only one EFM per case management system. (3) CMS, Case Management System. We accept as a given a heterogeneous CMS environment. In California there are 58 counties, each with one and typically more CMSs, with no two configured alike. Courts' case management systems will need the hooks or APIs (application program interfaces) to talk with an EFM. This is a job for the CMS vendors or court software developers (or their contractors). In some case management systems the EFM function may be embedded in the CMS..."

  • UELCP XML Work Group "The purpose of the UELCP XML Work Group is to develop one or more model Document Type Definitions (DTDs) for the filing and exchange of legal The XML Work Group is a recently-formed virtual work group made up of individuals interested in exploring the use of XML standards as the basis for facilitating the electronic filing and exchange of legal documents. The group will function almost entirely in an electronic environment hosted by the UELCP ( using tools such as e-mail, chat rooms, threaded discussion forums, list serves and similar tools..."

  • See: Washington State Bar Association XML Study Group - With a 'Proposed Court Filing Standard'.

  • "XML and Electronic Filing Issues for Courts." By Roger Winters (Electronic Court Records Manager, King County Department of Judicial Administration). "XML, the eXtensible Markup Language, figures importantly in many plans for the electronic court file of the future and, ultimately, for all electronic legal documents. This paper discusses how courts have come to work toward electronic documents and case files. It explains what XML is and why it has captured the attention of so many court managers, administrators, judges, clerks, academics, developers, and technicians from Singapore to Seattle, Georgia to New Mexico, Maryland to Manhattan, Utah to Virginia, and beyond. The paper concludes with comments on work toward a standard for XML and the electronic court file."

  • "Spotlight on XML." Standing Committee on Technology and Information Systems - SCOTIS Technology Newsletter. American Bar Association. June/July 2000, Volume 1, Number 6. "The following articles have been compiled to raise the legal profession's awareness of XML technology and its potential effect on the practice of law. SCOTIS' role in providing technology leadership for the Association involves education of the membership on important technology topics as well as recommendations on use of these technologies by the Association. These articles describe XML in general, work to create legal-specific XML, and XML efforts in other professions..."

  • "Electronic Court Filing Resources on the Internet." By Doug Mataconis, Esq., Sharon D. Nelson, Esq. and John W. Simek. A service of the Fairfax Bar Association Technology Committee.

  • "XML for Courts." By James E. Mcmillan. Sixth National Court Technology Conference. September 14-16, 1999. "XML, or eXtensible Markup Language, is the new meta language of the Internet. This paper will discuss the need for XML and will share information about what several court technology experts are doing to apply this new technology to the court environment. If you already know about XML, you will probably want to skip the Background section of the paper and go right to the Need for Court XML section."

  • XML/JEDDI - Judicial Electronic Document and Data Interchange. "Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the computer to computer exchange of structured business information in recognized formats. Concepts for a Judicial XML Name Space and Data Tag Dictionary is a starting point for a standard name space for court data. JEDDI is the initial attempt to define broad and general guidelines for the possible use of Judicial Electronic Document and Data Interchange in the judicial environment."

  • Related resources:

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