LegalHTML is an extension of the HTML language designed for representing legal acts. It provides an explicit domain language addressing all structural aspects of an act such as articles, paragraphs, items and references. It is enhanced with rich semantics for describing the editorial and jurisdictional history of an act and includes references to domain entities. Furthermore, LegalHTML addresses the consolidation of an act and its subsequent modifications by displaying it in a single document using a tree-like representation of the original content and of its modified versions.
The model is proposed as a unifying standard for the semantics of legal documents on one hand and their visual representation on the other hand. This is in contrast with other approaches where such aspects are managed through separate models and are consequently expressed through different document instances. As a result, at the publication level, there is a single document that incorporates:
- a formal description of the structure of a legal act;
- semantic annotations that allow not only for "machine readability", but also for "machine understandability" of document content. These semantic annotations concern both the structure of the document itself and references to external entities (e.g. organizations, signatories and people in general, roles of the latter, areas of interest etc.).
The specifications of LegalHTML include these elements:
1. LegalHTML specification document
Elaborated using the specifications format recommended by W3C (ReSpec), allowing for a first draft HTML document from which exports into various formats (including PDF and final HTML) are available.
2. LegalHTML ontology
Compliant with current ontologies used for document metadata, but adding more detailed information about consolidation. The ontology is available as an RDF file in the Turtle format (the most human-readable serialization format for RDF).
3. HTML ontology documentation
Developed with VocBench, it is produced through automated export of the documentation notes present within the ontology and other static information prepared with a template and figures generated with VocBench tools.
4. LegalHTML dynamic code
5. Full LegalHTML representation of an example file, with a complete consolidation example
You can download the latest version of the documentation from here. Please note that the specifications mark work in progress and they will be evolving. For more information, please contact OP-CUSTOMER-SUPPORT@publications europa.eu.