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JILT 1997 (2) - Philip Greenleaf et al.

The AustLII Papers
New Directions in Law via the Internet

Prof Graham Greenleaf
Faculty of Law
Andrew Mowbray
Faculty of Law
Geoffrey King
Faculty of Law
With contributions from Simon Cant, Kirsty Magarey, Tim Moore, Daniel Austin, Philip Chung, Trina Cairns and David Irvine of AustLII *

Image 1

1. AustLII's Roles
2. Managing Large Scale Hypertext Databases
3. Indexing Law on the Internet
4. The Politics of Public Legal Information
5. New Legal Services via the Web
6. Indigenous Peoples' Legal Issues via Internet

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AustLII is a University-based organisation specialising in research and teaching in computerisation of law, and which operates one of the largest free law sites on the web. This collection of papers provides an account of the development and operation of AustLII's first two years of providing free public access to Australian law, and an overview of new directions in AustLII's work. While the papers constitute a coherent whole and have been published here as a single article, each paper describes a distinct aspect of AustlII's work and we have therefore used the terminology of 'paper' to signify this distinct character.

The papers cover the following topics:

1. AustLII's roles, which provides a general introduction to AustLII's work including the databases and technical issues.
2. Managing large scale hypertext databases provides a detailed description of the technical aspects of AustLII's work including database management, search engine and automation of hypertext markup.
3. Indexing Law on the Internet describes the indexing mechanisms developed and used by AustLII
4. The Politics of Public Legal Information describes the 'political' issues involved in securing the datasets, the development of principles of providing free and effective access to public information and financing of the AustLII project.
5. New legal services via the web- AustlII's research on legal inferencing describes the research and development work on legal inferencing to provide 'expert' legal services linked to the AustLII database.
6. Indigenous Peoples' Legal Issues via Internet describes AustLII's work on developing a dataset on aboriginal materials and attempts to communicate this data effectively to both indigenous and non-indigenous communities including remote communities as part of a project on reconciliation and social justice.

Keywords: electronic legal information, Australian World Wide Web, indigenous people, legal education, legal research, legal information, search engine, hypertext markup, indexing on the internet, managing large hypertext of databases, web based legal services, access to legal infromation.

This is a refereed article published on 30 June 1997.

Citation: Greenleaf G et al, 'The AustLII Papers - New Directions in Law via the Internet', 1997 (2) The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT). <>. New citation as at 1/1/04: <>


Simon Cant ( co-authored Chapter 5;

Daniel Austin ( contributed to Chapter 3;

Kirsty Magarey ( and Tim Moore ( contributed to Chapter 6;

the work and ideas of all of AustLII's staff is reflected at various points, in particular, contributions from Philip Chung (, Trina Cairns ( and David Irvine ( from AustLII.

Thanks to Jill Matthews for proof-reading.

'The AustLII papers' were prepared as background papers for presentations by AustLII staff at the Law via the Internet 97 Conference, Sydney, Australia, 25-27 June 1997.


Daniels, J and Rissland, E, 1997 'Finding legally relevant opinions in case opinions' Proc. Sixth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law , Association for Computing Machinery , 1997.

De la Fosse and Finlay (AustLII Conference proceeedings)

Finin T and Fritzson R 1994 'KQML - A Language and Protocol for Knowledge and Information Exchange', Technical Report CS-94-02, Computer Science Department, University of Maryland, UMBC <>.

Genesereth M and Fikes R (1992) 'Knowledge Interchange Format Version 3.0 Reference Manual', Logic Group, Report Logic-92-1, Computer Science Department, Stanford University, Stanford California, June 1992.

Greenleaf, Mowbray and King (1997a) 'Legal Research on the Internet : the AustLII Guide to Law on the Web', (AustLII: 1997)

Greenleaf, Mowbray, King, Cant and Chung (1997b)' More than wyshful thinking - AustLII's legal inferencing via the World-Wide-Web', Proceeedings of the 6th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law (6ICAIL), Melbourne, July 1997.

Greenleaf G, Mowbray A, King G & Chung P (1996) 'AustLII and the Courts: public information in the public interest' Australian Institute of Judicial Administration Annual Conference, Wellington, New Zealand, September 1996.

Greenleaf G, Mowbray A, King G and van Dijk P (1995a) 'Public access to law via Internet: the Australasian Legal Information Institute' (1995) Journal of Law & Information Science, Vol 6 Issue 1 <>.

Greenleaf G, Mowbray A and van Dijk P (1995b) 'Representing and using legal knowledge in integrated decision support systems - DataLex WorkStations' Artificial Intelligence and Law , Vol 3 , 1995, Kluwer, 97-142.

Greenleaf G, Mowbray A and van Dijk P (1994) DataLex WorkStations Developers Manual (2nd Edition)(1994:Datalex Pty Ltd)

Greenleaf G , Mowbray A, Tyree A, (1992) 'The DataLex Legal Workstation - Integrating tools for lawyers', Vol 3 No 2 Journal of Law and Information Science (1992) 219 -240 (also in Proc. Third Int. Conf. on Artificial Intelligence and Law, ACM Press, 1991).

Greenleaf G, A Mowbray and D Lewis (1988) Australasian Computerised Legal Information Handbook, (Butterworths: 1988)

Gruber, T. R., 'Toward Principles for the Design of Ontologies Used for Knowledge haring" in Formal Ontology in Conceptual Analysis and Knowledge Representation, ed N. Guarino and R. Poli, Kluwer Academic Publishers

Johnson Peter and Dayal Surendra (1997) 'Smart Government: Internet Delivery of Public Services' Proceeedings of the 'Law via the Internet 97' Conference, Sydney, Australia, 25-27 June 1997.

Kellow Philip 'Legal expert systems and the Internet', Proceeedings of the 'Law via the Internet 97' Conference, Sydney, Australia, 25-27 June 1997.

Mowbray A 'Sino - yet another search engine for the Web' AustLII May 1995.

Neches R and Gruber T 1994, "The Knowledge Sharing Effort", 26 July 1994 < /knowledge-sharing/papers/kse-overview.html>.

Olsson, Justice Trevor 'Guide to Uniform Production of Judgments', AIJA, 1992.

Rice J, Farquhar A, Piernot P, and Gruber T (1995) 'Using the Web Instead of a Window System', Stanford Knowledge Systems Laboratory <>

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