Maintenance of JURICAS legal computer advice systems
Maintenance of legal knowled has not had much attention so far. Most papers have been concentrated on feasibility, knowledge representation and knowledge acquisition. The fact that legal computer systems are gradually more accepted and used in the legal practice, causes a growing need for maintenance strategies and policies. Isomorphism is often mentioned if maintenance is an issue. The rules in the knowledge base should remain as close as possible to the rule in law.
Rules in the JURICAS advisory packages which are being used in legal practice in the Netherlands can remain quite close to the source. Next to that, the fact that the representation in JURICAS files is easy to read and easy to understand, can make JURICAS packages quite easy to maintain. However, there is an important role to play for the programmer of a package.
Nevertheless, JURICAS has some maintenance problems: the structure of JURICAS knowledge files can be confusing; JURICAS packages are often built by the legal experts themselves, which has benefits but certainly has disadvantages as well, as our Centre for Computers and Law has experienced; the JURICAS facility to save cases causes exchange problems, because new cases cannot be processed by old versions of packages and vice versa.
Maintenance problems can be reduced to a minimum by developing a JURICAS Development Methodology. However, some problems require an organizational or a technical solution. For some of the problems the Centre for Computers and Law has found a solution, for others, research is still to be done.
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