On the Road to Regulatory Ontologies

Interpreting Regulations with SBVR
  • Elie Abi-Lahoud
  • Leona O’Brien
  • Tom Butler
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8929)


Regulatory compliance has proved to be difficult and time consuming across business domains. In Financial Services, the wide and complex spectrum of regulations calls for machine assistance in making sense of, and in consuming, the regulatory text. Semantic technologies, and Ontologies in particular, bring new solutions to the challenges in consuming financial services regulations that traditional technologies fell short in addressing. Current state-of-the-art related work is silent on the role of Legal/ Regulatory Subject-Matter-Experts in building these ontologies. This paper presents an on-going study on creating regulatory ontologies. It describes a Subject-Matter-Expert-centric approach to collaborative development of regulatory ontologies using structured natural language, Semantics of Business Vocabulary and business Rules (SBVR) in particular.


Regulatory Ontology Structured Natural Language SBVR Financial Industry Regulations Semantic Technologies Subject Matter Experts Common Vocabulary Complex Regulations 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Davies, H., Green, D.: Global Financial Regulation: The Essential Guide (Now with a Revised Introduction), Polity, UK (2013)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Abbott, K.W., Snidal, D.: Hard and Soft Law in International Governance. International Organization 54(3), 421–456 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Baldwin, R., Cave, M., Lodge, M.: Understanding regulation: theory, strategy, and practice. Oxford University Press (2011)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Brummer, C.: How International Financial Law Works (and How It Doesn’t). Geo. LJ 99, 257 (2010)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Levine, R.: The governance of financial regulation: reform lessons from the recent crisis. International Review of Finance 12(1), 39–56 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Greene, E.F., Potiha, I.: Examining the extraterritorial reach of Dodd–Frank’s Volcker rule and margin rules for uncleared swaps—a call for regulatory coordination and cooperation. Capital Markets Law Journal 7(3), 271–316 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Casellas, N.: Law, Governance and Technology: Legal Ontology Engineering: Methodologies, Modelling Trends, and the Ontology of Professional Judicial Knowledge, vol. 3. Springer (2011)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Sartor, G., Casanovas, P., Biasiotti, M.: Approaches to legal ontologies: theories, domains, methodologies, vol. 1. Springer (2011)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Sartor, G., et al.: Legislative XML for the Semantic Web. Springer, Heidelberg (2011)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Breuker, J.: Law, Ontologies and the Semantic Web: Channelling the Legal Information Flood, vol. 188. IOS Press (2009)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Krieger, H.-U., Declerck, T., Nedunchezhian, A.K.: MFO-The Federated Financial Ontology for the MONNET Project. In: KEOD (2012)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bennett, M.: Semantics standardization for financial industry integration. In: IEEE Collaboration Technologies and Systems (CTS), May 23-27, pp. 239–445. IEEE (2011)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Mazando, F.H.: The Taxonomy of Global Securities: is the US Definition of a Security too Broad? Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business 33(1), 121 (2012)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kendall, E.: Talk on Semantics in Finance: Addressing Looming Train Wreck in Risk Management, Regulatory Compliance and Reporting. Semantic Technologies & Business Conference, New York (2013)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    van Kralingen, R.: A conceptual frame-based ontology for the law. In: Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Legal Ontologies (1997)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Valente, A., Breuker, J.: A functional ontology of law. In: Towards a Global Expert System in Law (1994)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Zhao, G., Leary, R.: Topical ontology of fraud. Deliverable of The FFPOIROT IP project (IST-2001-38248) Deliverable D2 (2005)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Biagioli, C., Francesconi, E., Spinosa, P., Taddei, M.: The Norme in Rete Project: Standards and tools for legislative drafting and legal document web publication. In: Proceedings of ICAIL Workshop on e-Government: Modelling Norms and Concepts as Key Issues, pp. 69–78 (2003)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Palmirani, M., Vitali, F.: Akoma-Ntoso for Legal Documents. Legislative XML for the Semantic Web, 75–100 (2011)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Palmirani, M., Governatori, G., Rotolo, A., Tabet, S., Boley, H., Paschke, A.: LegalRuleML: XML-based rules and norms. In: Palmirani, M. (ed.) RuleML - America 2011. LNCS, vol. 7018, pp. 298–312. Springer, Heidelberg (2011)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kimble, J.: Plain English: A charter for clear writing. TM Cooley L. Rev 9 (1992)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules, Object Management Group (November 2013),
  23. 23.
    Abi-Lahoud, E., Hall, J., Butler, T., Chapin, D.: Interpreting Regulations with SBVR. In: Joint Proceedings of the 7th International Rule Challenge, the Special Track on Human Language Technology and the 3rd RuleML Doctoral Consortium, hosted at the 8th International Symposium on Rules (RuleML2013), Seattle, USA, uly 11-13 (2013)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kendall, E., Linehan, M.: Mapping SBVR to OWL2. IBM Research Paper (2013),
  25. 25.
    Lévy, F., et al.: An Environment for the Joint Management of Written Policies and Business Rules. ICTAI (2), 142–149 (2010)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Gordon, T.F., Governatori, G., Rotolo, A.: Rules and norms: Requirements for rule interchange languages in the legal domain. In: Governatori, G., Hall, J., Paschke, A. (eds.) RuleML 2009. LNCS, vol. 5858, pp. 282–296. Springer, Heidelberg (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Boella, G., Humphreys, L., Martin, M., Rossi, P., van der Torre, L.: Eunomos, a Legal Document and Knowledge Management System to Build Legal Services. In: Palmirani, M., Pagallo, U., Casanovas, P., Sartor, G. (eds.) AICOL-III 2011. LNCS, vol. 7639, pp. 131–146. Springer, Heidelberg (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elie Abi-Lahoud
    • 1
  • Leona O’Brien
    • 1
  • Tom Butler
    • 1
  1. 1.Governance, Risk and Compliance Technology CentreUniversity College CorkCorkIreland

Personalised recommendations