Conceptual Modeling of Legal Relations

  • Cristine GriffoEmail author
  • João Paulo A. Almeida
  • Giancarlo Guizzardi
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11157)


Legal relations abound in conceptual modeling. Despite that, the representation of these relations in the area has not yet received sufficient theoretical support. We address this by establishing a basis for the well-founded representation of legal relations. We capture a comprehensive set of legal relations (and legal positions within these legal relations) that arise from widely accepted legal theories into a legal core ontology called UFO-L [14, 15], which is grounded on the Unified Foundational Ontology (UFO). We rely on the Theory of Constitutional Rights proposed by the philosopher of law Robert Alexy. This theory extends the system of legal positions proposed by the jurist Wesley Hohfeld, which has been used as a theoretical basis for several works in the conceptual modeling literature. The result is a modeling strategy for legal relations that in- corporates patterns from the legal core ontology. We present here a synthesis of empirical studies conducted to evaluate the aforementioned results. The studies show that the approach based on UFO-L produces models that are more comprehensible and clear for the representation of legal contracts.


Legal relations Conceptual modeling Legal ontology UFO-L 



This work is partially supported by CNPq (407235/2017-5, 312123/2017-5, and 312158/2015-7), CAPES (23038.028816/2016-41), FAPES (69382549) and FUB (OCEAN Project).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cristine Griffo
    • 1
    Email author
  • João Paulo A. Almeida
    • 1
  • Giancarlo Guizzardi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Ontology and Conceptual Modeling Research Group (NEMO)Federal University of Espírito Santo (UFES)VitóriaBrazil
  2. 2.Facoltà di Scienze e Tecnologie InformaticheFree University of Bozen-BolzanoBolzanoItaly

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