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JILT 1996 (1) - Woodhouse & Maione

The Internet as a provider of legal services

Tony Woodhouse and Tony Maione

Two undergradute students at the University of Warwick are in the process of completing a dissertation in this area. As part of their work they are designing hypertext based computer systems to be delivered on the World Wide Web (WWW). The work being carried out is in the area of employment law, and particularly employment contracts. These systems are intended to guide a user interactively through pages that provide and request information. The systems will use this information to guide the user through the system and in certain cases a discernible end product, such as advice or a printed contract, will be offered. The benefits of this type of system are felt to be the user friendly nature of it and the interconnectivity of the web. That is, there is not a logic tree based on legal rules reduced to an algorithmunlike traditional ‘expert’ systems based on highly structured systems. The nature of the WWW is ideal for the type of sytsem envisaged because on the WWW such structured sysytems are not necessary and their inherent constraints can be avoided. It is hoped that a substantial amount of feedback will be offered in respect of both the actual systems and the notion of electronic legal services. Research is also being carried out on the nature of the web and the nature of legal services regarding advances in information technology. Comments and suggestions would be gratefully received by e-mail at the address given.

Watch this space - once the systems are fully operational the URL will be available here.

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