Supporting newly-appointed judges: a legal knowledge management case study

Pompeu Casanovas, Marta Poblet, Núria Casellas, Jesus Contreras, V. Richard Benjamins, Mercedes Blazquez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose In this paper we describe the process of developing and implementing a knowledge management system for the Spanish judicial domain. Spanish judges, especially newly-recruited ones, hold a solid background of theoretical legal knowledge, but are much less familiar with the judicial knowledge of the more senior judges acquired from everyday practice and case resolution. The aim of this development is to capture and model these two aspects of judicial knowledge – theoretical and practical – for knowledge browsing and retrieving. Design/methodology/approach Semantic web technologies are applied to feed a question-answering system based on ontologies of professional legal knowledge (OPLK). Findings There is a kind of specific legal knowledge, which belongs properly to the expert domain, not being captured by current legal core ontologies, i.e. Judges require clues, hints or well-grounded practical guidelines that refer to the problem they have before them when they put a question or start the query. A scalable and useful frequently-asked questions system should have a simple, natural language interface, work in a real time environment, and the questions included in the system should be of high quality and reflect the current situation. Originality/value The final system will enable the users to ask queries in natural language and obtain answers, which are supported by legal documents stored in specialized legal databases. Special care is taken regarding usability issues, in order to ensure the highest user satisfaction. © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-27
JournalJournal of Knowledge Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2005


  • Judges
  • Knowledge management
  • Laws and legislation
  • Legal profession
  • Legal theory
  • Online databases


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