Artificial Intelligence and Law

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 241–277 | Cite as

Legal Ontologies in Knowledge Engineering and Information Management



In this article we describe two core ontologies of law that specify knowledge that is common to all domains of law. The first one, FOLaw describes and explains dependencies between types of knowledge in legal reasoning; the second one, LRI-Core ontology, captures the main concepts in legal information processing. Although FOLaw has shown to be of high practical value in various applied European ICT projects, its reuse is rather limited as it is rather concerned with the structure of legal reasoning than with legal knowledge itself: as many other “legal core ontologies”, FOLaw is therefore rather an epistemological framework than an ontology. Therefore, we also developed LRI-Core. As we argue here that legal knowledge is based to a large extend on common-sense knowledge, LRI-Core is particularly inspired by research on abstract common-sense concepts. The main categories of LRI-Core are: physical, mental and abstract concepts. Roles cover in particular social worlds. Another special category are occurrences; terms that denote events and situations. We illustrate the use of LRI-Core with an ontology for Dutch criminal law, developed in the e-Court European project.

Key words

common-sense ontology legal core ontologies legal reasoning 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joost Breuker
    • 1
  • André Valente
    • 2
  • Radboud Winkels
    • 1
  1. 1.Leibniz Center for Law, Faculty of LawUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamthe Netherlands
  2. 2.Knowledge Systems VenturesLos AngelesUSA

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