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30 August 2011, 16:56

EU parliaments consider open source XML tools for legal documents

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According to report from OSOR.EU, several parliaments in the EU, including that of the United Kingdom, are considering the use of XML-based standard forms and open source XML editors for the production of legal texts and documents. The systems currently being considered are Bungeni and Akoma Ntoso from Africa and xmLeges and NIR from Italy.

The OpenOffice-based Bungeni was presented at the UK parliament in March this year. Those attending were from the Parliament ICT, Hansard Section, Information Management and Table Departments. The main goal of the meeting was to assess ways in which the UK parliament can provide technical assistance and support to the Bungeni project. The project states that one of its aims is to make parliaments more open to citizens, the name of the project itself conveying this idea: "Bungeni" is the Kiswahili word for "inside Parliament".

The European Parliament's IT department last year validated the Akoma Ntoso XML Framework as fit for use by the European Parliament. The framework, developed alongside the Bungeni editor, is a set of standards for "technology-neutral electronic representations of parliamentary, legislative and judiciary documents for e-services". The project is financed by funding from the United Nations department of Economic and Social Affairs.

xmLeges is an open source "Application Suite for Legal Drafting" which has been designed for the Italian public authorities. From ITTIG (the Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques in the city of Firenze), it is also developed alongside an XML set, the NIR project (Norme In Rete, Laws on Line).

The OSOR.EU article points out that specialists involved in both Akoma Ntoso and xmLeges will meet at the forthcoming Lex SummerSchool, "a week long course on ICT standards emerging for legislation, judiciary, parliamentary and administrative documents", which will take place from 5 to 11 September in Ravenna, Italy.


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