Finding Case Law: Leveraging Machine Learning Research to Enhance Public Access to UK Judgments


Once ranked last in Europe for public access to judgment data, the United Kingdom has taken large strides in recent years to improve the accessibility of judgments. This paper discusses how the new platform from The National Archives, Find Case Law, was developed for the publication of UK judgments; in particular how we created the engine responsible for the enrichment of judgment text. We argue that the new system is necessary to address existing issues with the accessibility of judgment data, and if the platform were to leverage the abundance of research conducted in areas such as legal text classification, summarisation, and entity recognition, the UK could quickly become a world leader for public accessibility of judgments. We develop a proof of concept system, MyJudgments, that demonstrates a potential direction for development. Whilst it is early days, the launch of Find Case Law provides a unique opportunity to remind ourselves of the opportunities machine learning presents for broadening the accessibility of judgments to new users and expanding their utility for novel use-cases. To do this, we review existing research performed on UK judgment data and suggest how the various strands could practically be integrated into a case law publication system.

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