Galindo F., “From legal thesaurus to e-signatures”, in European Journal of Law and Technology, Vol. 1, Issue 1, 2010.


Fernando Galindo [1]

Cite as: Galindo F., “From legal thesaurus to e-signatures”, in European Journal of Law and Technology, Vol. 1, Issue 1, 2010.


In collaboration with several partners, in the middle of the 1980s the Inter-Disciplinary Research Group on Data Protection and Electronic Signatures located in the Aragon Autonomous Region of Spain began to carry out interdisciplinary research related to the storage and retrieval of legal documentation. The objective was to use the technical possibilities of expert systems to enable retrieval, with the use of suitable dialogues and arguments, local legal texts, especially the legislation of the Aragón Autonomous Region. The intended users would be both ordinary people and legal experts. The chosen method was the construction of an intelligent legal thesaurus.

It was too early. We realized practical results could not be obtained at that time in the Spanish context. The research did however generate philosophical ideas on access to legal texts.

As the Internet became a reality, another object of research appeared: How to ensure security of identity in electronic legal communications? Such security would assist legal activities while at the same time protecting individual rights to communicate thoughts freely when retrieving information. This involved work on identification management and electronic signatures. The development of these activities began in the mid1990s.

We have now reinstated the idea of the thesaurus alongside e-signatures, in an attempt to put into practice the objective of building systems that provide, as far as is possible, free access to and recovery of legal documentation using internet for all citizens in the 'network' society. [2]

However, the collaborative potential of the Internet brought another opportunity: We moved from a focus on local and Spanish regional development to collaboration on a European and international basis. Joint activities were developed between research centres in the area of computers and law. This was the point of departure for the establishment of the Legal Framework for the Information Society: the LEFIS Network, founded by the group.

1 Introduction

The aim of this chapter is to provide an overview of research work undertaken since the 1980s, characterized by the fact that it has used the technological resources available at each moment in time as a mechanism for reaching conclusions adopting the guiding objective of drawing up proposals that foster changes to legal practices in democratic societies; technological development being one of the factors causing changes to the activities of legal professionals throughout the period, and which have enabled the establishment and consolidation of the 'network society'. [3]

The following specific technological concerns influenced our work:

1. The growth of adequate systems for the retrieval of documentation has removed them from the limited realms of legal specialists and enabled increased and expanded citizen access to legal regulations since the mid1980s. This has helped to create the possibility of activating the democratic principle of laws being the result of the will of the people created by their representatives in assembly and in their name. [4]

2. The use, since the mid1990s of cryptographic techniques as instruments that provide democratic guarantees for the expansion of Internet. They are a means of preserving the implantation of legal principles essential to democracies, especially as regards safeguarding security and freedoms of speech and opinion, in relation to the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the transmission and reception of communications. [5]

3. The developing democratic use of ICTs for professional legal practices on a daily basis as key mechanisms for establishing the 'network society' as regards public service provision by public administrations and provision of justice through legal procedures of democratic states. [6]

This chapter is concerned with activities undertaken by the inter-disciplinary Research Group on Data Protection and Electronic Signature (hereinafter Research Group) [7]. It currently consists of 16 members working in law, mathematics, documentation and informatics at the University of Zaragoza, the University San Jorge and the provincial government of Zaragoza. Its main research activities include:

1. Legal thesauruses.

2. The use of personal identification devices.

3. Democratic implantation of the network society as regards the exercise of legal activities by legal professionals.

The Research Group has not worked in isolation but in active discussion with other research groups in law in Europe, the USA and Central and South America. These conversations have resulted in the establishment of the Legal Framework for the Information Society Network (LEFIS [8]) which currently consists of 126 members. The network coordinator is the Research Group of the University of Zaragoza.

2 Thesauruses

During the second half of the 1980s, when the possibilities of the information and communications technologies (ICTs) were being explored in the legal field, ICTs had begun to be applied to the management of the administration of justice in courts and tribunals. For the purposes of considering the possible consequences of its application to the legal activities of democratic states and to raise awareness of the field of future jurists training in law Schools, it was of interest to use as a reference legal theories that advocated the study of law based on the specific characteristics of legal language of regulations in terms of the formal expression of laws passed in the Parliament by the democratic representatives of the citizens.

There was a wide-ranging doctrinal consensus that felt ICT theories and techniques should be an aid to the automatic generation of regulations. [9]

The establishment of collections of words adequately studied and filtered, expressing legal texts and problems compiled in dictionaries and thesauruses was the first phase of the work to be carried out, the objective of which was the later generation of regulations. The Research Group was also interested in exploring the possibilities provided by philosophical legal discussions providing new theoretical insights on the nature of law and legal language. This included especially studies on the interpretation and application of laws, based on the theory of legal argumentation. [10]

For these purposes and jointly with mathematicians (algebra and statistics), and using materials used in law school instruction since the nineteenth century (specifically civil law, criminal law and administrative law), we began in the mid1980s to carry out interdisciplinary research on the most significant potential for that ICT period: the possibilities for storage and retrieval of legal documentation and for the representation of legal knowledge through the use of logical programming languages.

The scope of the research was therefore more wide ranging than the mere electronic storage and retrieval of documentation. The aim was also to employ the possibilities of programs known as 'expert systems' to access and retrieve legal texts of local interest. The initial example was constituted by civil legislation specific to the Autonomous Region of Aragón. The idea was to provide legal experts and citizens with the text of legislation using typical dialogs and arguments as auxiliary navigation tools for the schematization and representation of legislation. A clear example of the foreseen results of the prototypes was related to the production of conversations between non-jurist expert users and the program on the possibility of realising 'juridically valid' acts in Aragón in relation to the age of the person. We named this research project the 'Construction of an Intelligent Legal Thesaurus'. [11]

The results of these activities were excellent in terms of the construction of legal databases made up of legislation, jurisprudence and doctrines in a field of special interest to the Autonomous Region such as historical and current law in Aragón. [12] As a result of the research, resources such as databases were established, which provided interested jurists and citizens with access to the contents of law. For historical reasons Spanish law was highly centralised because of the eighteenth century centralizing trend under the influence of enlightened rationalism. This trend was not reversed until the recognition by the Spanish Constitution of 1978 of the State based on Autonomous Regions and the exercise of the political principle of separation of powers between the legislature, executive and judiciary and between central and regional bodies. Thus the resulting databases provided interested jurists and citizens with access to the contents of both the regional Aragon laws resulting from the decentralising 1978 constitution and relevant laws applicable to Aragon in the centralised system that prevailed from the eighteenth century to 1978.

The result of the research concerning the construction of expert systems to enable citizen and specialist access to specific legal texts on the exercise of specific rights authorized by the legal code was a different matter. The expert systems were programs that responded in dialogs to simple questions referring to some specific regulations, different to general Spanish regulations, on the obtainment of the age of majority in the Autonomous Region of Aragón. The systems were constructed, but never moved on from the prototype stage. [13]

Subsequently, research was carried out by the group on specific aspects of the contents of regulations and especially procedural actions in courts and tribunals. [14] The effectiveness of the model was thereby increased but still did not prove its usefulness since there was a lack of resources and interest for it to pass from an experimental phase to full applicability. Conclusions reached through this research were defined by the preliminary nature of the approach; the emphasis was on technological development and not in its actual application in the field. At that time the legal documentation stored in digital support media was slowly beginning to be exploited by companies and public institutions. However, it was impossible to obtain practical results or programs or applications from this type of research, at least in the Spanish context. The objectives of the industry were at that moment centred in the development of text retrieval systems for key legal texts, and users had little interest in technologically more sophisticated products. It was not yet the time to revise the tools that came from other countries, especially the USA. Nevertheless this research did give rise to detailed studies and descriptions of activities concerning the use of ICT and AI in accessing of legal texts and other professional activities of jurists, [15] as well as the communicative concept of law as defined by the relationship between lawyers and legal texts. [16]

3 Identification

With the arrival of the internet, real-time communication became commonplace; when you could send and receive messages by electronic mail and buy goods from suppliers of products and services on the internet by means of e-commerce, the following became objects of study for the Research Group:

1. The continued development of proposals aimed at helping legal activities by using text retrieval systems aided by more sophisticated navigation tools and telecommunications. [17]

2. The drawing up of proposals aimed at guaranteeing the rights of specific people for the secure free communication of their thoughts and decisions when transmitting and receiving information employing resources that enable greater and better retrieval of legal information in a way that is adapted to the specific needs of identifiable users. This was the work aimed at guaranteeing the management of the identification of issuers and receivers of messages and guaranteeing the preservation of the integrity of the contents of messages by means of electronic signatures. [18]

This research was undertaken since the mid1990s.

In many countries, the emergence of independent research centres for the provision of free access to legal texts is easy to understand. According to democratic principles, regulations should be publicly accessible: they are drawn up by the representatives of the people. If they were only accessible by means of the use of commercial text retrieval systems, the principle of free access to legal texts would not be met. To this end, the research centres of other countries looked to break the dynamics of this commercialization of the dissemination of legal texts stored digitally by establishing 'unofficial' documental collections 'online' freely accessible to all the citizens of the country. [19] In contrast in Spain, legislation and administrative regulations have been made accessible through official channels to everyone, freely on the Internet since 1995.[20] From this time on, the official bulletin for governmental regulations has been available online to all citizens. For practical purposes, the same is true of regulations enacted by all of Spain's autonomous regions. These initiatives were formally generalized on 1st January 2004.

As far as judicial legal documentation is concerned, in 1997 the General Council of the Judiciary set up the Legal Documentation Centre in San Sebastian (Basque Country) to be the body responsible for publicizing the sentences of the high court, the high courts of justice of the autonomous regions, tribunals and other legal bodies. Commercial organisations were permitted in many cases to determine the way in which access could be gained to the documentation using their own retrieval systems and charging for their services in accordance with the guidelines laid down for the processing and retrieval of legal documentation by the Council of Europe, the European Community and the regulations of each country.

These circumstances led to the research group focusing its work not so much on the construction of generic systems for the retrieval of legal documentation, but rather on the construction of systems supporting legal decision-making undertaken by the institutions in question, or by the public administration itself, the courts and legal professionals employing new ICT systems such as email and internet, the use of which started to become generalized by the second half of the 1990s). [21]

The strategy made it possible to concentrate on the study of the organizational and functional changes these uses called for from a range of organizations and legal players. As a result, towards the dawn of the new millennium, the study focused on a phenomenon that began at that time by referring to it with the expression 'electronic government' or 'electronic administration'. It was therefore possible to study the expansion of the use of governmental mechanisms and their effectiveness in the legal activities of the public administrations. [22]

At the same time special emphasis was placed on the study of the characteristics and requirements of the transmission and reception of electronic messages made using the Internet. Special attention was given to the virtual potential (the possibility of communicating in real time with correspondents located anywhere around the world), its weaknesses (the possibilities of third parties gaining access to the contents of messages and the impersonation of issuers and receivers of messages) and the solution to the latter. This required consideration of the advantages of real-time or asynchronous worldwide communication and the problems of abuse by third parties through access to message content and identity theft. Since the second half of the 1990s the solution has focused, and also in terms of regulations, on the use of public key coding, since this resource was considered capable of addressing the weaknesses of the communications systems provided by the internet in accordance with the fact that communication undertaken using the resource could be seen, modified and faked by third parties.

This was when European directives and state regulations were enacted centred on the regulation of the 'electronic signature', the construction of public key infrastructures and the regulation of information society services, all of which would enable the implantation of the norms. [23]

From 1997-2000, the group worked with notaries, property registrars, public prosecutors and lawyers on the characteristics required for confident use of the internet, and proposed the construction of institutions, systems and public key certification bodies to foster confidence in accordance with democratic principles. [24]

The use of public key as a resource for the establishment of the solution to the weaknesses of internet communications through coding required the setting up of public key infrastructure services, the function of which was to ensure the identification codes of the users. The coded messages dispatched were specific to one or other person who had entrusted their personal data as the holder of the key to a third party, the holding body of the infrastructure of the public key. Confidence was required to deposit personal information in the hands of third parties in order to achieve safe identification on the internet by using public keys for commercial or e-government purposes, or equally when trading by employing communication media (ICTs), [25] or more recently when accessing public services through what has become known as the 'electronic administration' or 'electronic government'.

At that time the Research Group assisted in the establishment of two 'public key certification systems', one based on notaries [26] and a second 'public key infrastructure system' which is currently used in the academic and research environments. [27]

4 Network society

As a consequence of technological developments over recent years, people can no longer harbour doubts concerning the possibility of a working network society, also known as the omnipresent society.[28] In other words, a society in which those with access to the Internet can use it for social, political, commercial and legal communication worldwide.

These include the execution of remote activities such as the buying and selling of products, obtaining public services (certifications, pension collection), meeting obligations as companies and citizens (tax payments), economic transactions, banking transactions, working from home or remotely, learning, watching films, watching television, documentation consultation, use of audiovisual media, playing games, etc. are all possible and have their corresponding effects. The internet also enables legal professionals to execute professional activities remotely: the dispatch and reception of notifications, transmission of documents, audio and video recording of legal processes, execution of witness reports, the presentation of expert reports, witness and defendant interrogations, declarations of those involved in a process, etc. We should also remember that this is fostered by the fact that from a political point of view, we are living today in a governance society, an expression that sums up the implantation of the ideal of efficiency and rules by the public administration already tried and tested in the private sector in the management of companies and administrative management. These rules are progressively becoming the rules of action of the public administration and the administration of justice, in coexistence with other legal principles for action such as participation and legality specific to democracies. [29]

All the above has meant the introduction of new guidelines for action in legal domains. The use of management techniques developed in the business world has taken on special importance, in contrast to the past when administrative or legal management was basically ordered by the application of the principle of legality.

The changes have been recognized institutionally: the existence of regulations concerning organizational and procedural changes to the administration of justice should be taken into account: For example, those expressed in the reforms of legal offices. These norms make a functional and institutional distinction between the work of judges, who take the judicial decisions, and the work of registrars or auxiliary staff, who are responsible for the management of their processing or who advocate the establishment of service letters in the administration.

The other mechanism prescribed by the legislation is the use of ICTs to speed up communication between the courts and of course between the citizens and the offices responsible for public services, in order to improve the quality of the services provided to the citizens.

With a greater sense of purpose than in the 1980s, these circumstances have led the group to continue working on research areas aimed at studying and understanding the characteristics of democratic legal activities in the network society, and to propose guidelines for learning and critical reflection to future jurists consistent with the provision of professional competencies required to carry out their activities, in order that they can execute their work in a conscientious, reflective, critical and democratic manner. [30] The characteristics of the work differ from earlier times during which, for example, the function of the ICTs was limited to being excellent auxiliary instruments or improved typewriters, or programs that in general terms provided legal documentation retrieval systems. In today's world it is possible for individuals to exercise their obligations and rights as legal professionals, workers, professionals, students, owners, salesmen, users, purchasers or citizens from an ICT terminal, computer or mobile telephone and at the same time preserve the guarantees that are set by democratic laws when exercising their respective rights and obligations.

For this reason the Research Group is currently continuing to put into practice the idea of drawing up an intelligent legal thesaurus that provides individualized access to legal documentation. In other words, it is continuing to construct documentation retrieval systems and infrastructures for public passwords that provide confident use of the electronic signatures and make a reality out of the objective of constructing systems that enable, to the greatest extent possible, free and secure access to the transmission and recovery of legal documentation through the internet. It puts into practice the exercise of rights and duties provided by law using their own language, without regard to the physical location of the storage of the legal documentation or the place from where it is accessed.

The Research Group, along with other groups, makes doctrinal contributions aimed at understanding this reality, at the same time as designing, by way of examples, teaching offerings and modules for law professionals and students (whether they are jurists or not) in the competencies and skills they require. The guiding principle is that legal functions have to be developed by fostering democratic principles, governance and the potential of the network society.

The contribution is threefold:

1. The content of teaching, which has to be adapted to the working needs of the organization of the democratic network society and legal institutions.[31]

2. Tests for the exercise of legal activities in the network society, when taking into account the complexity involved in democratic professional activities, where the experience of the Virtual Campus on Law and ICTs constituted by the Group aims to meet this objective. [32]

3. These activities are possible because the group has originated the establishment and functioning of the LEFIS Network as an international motor for research, development and teaching in computers and law in the network society.

4.1 Material

The material, modules and teaching content constitute a response to a range of competencies and skills required by the jurists, which have been defined by the research group in accordance with the guidelines for the teaching reform proposed by the European universities' teaching change process known as the Bologna process, by means of several initiatives (competencies and skills), listed as follows:

1. Access to legal texts.

2. Practical Applications of knowledge.

3. Ability to reason and present legal arguments.

4. Understanding and interpretation of legal norms and their application in practice.

5. Knowledge of ICT law.

6. Interpretation of regulations in accordance with the circumstances of each case and the social realities of the moment in which they must be applied.

7. Understanding how to present information verbally and visually.

8. Teamwork.

The names assigned to topics and teaching modules completed in order to gain experience in professional competencies and skills are given in the following list of courses that constitute the typical teaching offering of the research groups working jointly in the field:

Courses in Spanish [translation] :

1. Archives: rights of access

2. Computers, mobile phones and internet

3. Criminal aspects of library and archive activities

4. Cybercrime

5. Digital certificates and electronic signatures: a new means of identification on internet and before the government

6. Digital literacy and management of bibliographical patrimony

7. Electronic administration

8. Electronic administration and digital government

9. Electronic government

10. Electronic signatures

11. Ethics and legislation for engineers

12. Information society observatories

13. Institutional aspects of electronic administration

14. Legal and code of conduct framework for documentary activity

15. Legal documents and standards

16. Libraries: rights of access versus intellectual property

17. Philosophy of law

18. Registry and notary offices: documents and rights of access

19. Remote contracting: ecommerce

20. Rights and governance

Courses in English :

21. Company law and management

22. Computer law in an international perspective

23. Computers and law

24. Copyright law

25. Cybercrime

26. Data protection

27. E-governance and e-government

28. E-government activities for environmental information

29. Electronic government

30. Forensic computing

31. Foundations of private law

32. ICT in legal domain

33. Information law

34. Information security law

35. IT law

36. Jurimetrics

37. Law in information society

38. Legal aspects of electronic commerce

39. Legal informatics

40. Legal knowledge management

41. Special topics in legal informatics

Course in German :

42. Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz

Courses in Portuguese :

43. Aspectos jurídicos do comércio electrónico

44. Cidadania digital e inclusão social

45. Democracia virtual e estado moderno

46. Direito da informática

47. Direito do turismo

48. Governo eletrônico

49. Justíça, sistemas especialistas e da democracia

The material given is on offer grouped by specialties or teaching qualifications. Those adopted up until now are those on offer as postgraduate courses or permanent training and are specifically:[33]

1. Master (60 ECTS) in the Legal framework for the information society, the compulsory subjects of which are: computers, mobile phones and Internet, Legal documents and standards, and Law and governance

2. Specialized diplomas (30 ECTS) in: Law office, other legal offices (lawyers, notaries, attorneys, etc.), Electronic administration and government, Governance, electronic trade: legal and ethical framework and legislation for engineers

3. In addition the subjects making up the Master and the Diplomas can be studied individually (6 ECTS).

From 2008/09 academic year, educational material has been on offer that combines official teaching aimed at obtaining graduate and post graduate qualifications in Law and ICT fields, offered by education centres in a range of countries in which the research and teaching groups are based, which participate in educational initiatives as part of what is known as the 'Shared Law and Information and Communications Technologies Virtual Campus'.

4.2 The 'Shared Law and Information and Communication Technologies Virtual Campus'

These materials are currently being developed and put into practice in the field of action provided by a virtual campus, promoted by the European Union, the objective of which is to set up law and ICT studies that can be undertaken remotely by students enrolled in the universities of the campus. [34]

The modules, qualifications and materials described in the previous section are now on offer in the campus. They are explained in a traditional manner using the resources of the masters' classes and practical exercises. They are also completed with contents that are presented and accessible on the internet in accordance with the needs expressed by individual students, who identify themselves by using coding techniques; specifically public keys.

The subjects are also explained using modules adapted to students that only use the learning resources available on the Internet. The expansion in the medium term of this type of official education studies is the objective of the campus.

Specialties and subjects serve as auxiliary tools for the contents of legal documents: manuals, academic work, reports, legal texts, sentences and doctrine, proposed by the teacher in collaboration with the students with regard to the denominations of the studies, modules, qualifications, diplomas and subjects that provide the framework for the educational offering. The materials the students themselves produce during their studies and work expressed in Wikipedia format from the modules that make up part of the virtual network are also used for reference purposes. [35] All the students enrolled can access the material freely and so can the material proposed by the teacher. The material or the documents are retrieved by using words contained in them that, as for any thesaurus, work as search words. [36]

The collections of words selected by teachers constitute organized thesauruses expressed in the language of the people constructing them. Specifically, a system that will enable the retrieval of educational material by means of the following mechanisms is currently in its production phase:

1. Words contained literally in the documents or materials being retrieved.

2. Key words selected by expert teachers from the material or stored documentation.

3. Conceptual schemes of the material, developed by archivists using classifications or standard schemes of the knowledge.

The six volumes of the LEFIS series (more than 44 works in English, Spanish and Portuguese),[37] other writings, LEFIS documents, legislation and jurisprudence will be considered elements that make up the material. The legislation, regulations and jurisprudence will be stored in freely accessible systems.

The tools described above constitute the starting point for the construction of a Wikipedia/Encyclopedia, the use of which will be open on the internet for consultations made by anyone anonymously, those without identification, any interested web surfers, etc.

In contrast the tools that enable individualized access to particular information will guarantee their freedom and will ensure the right of the user to the protection of personal data and freedom of the inquiry as well as safeguarding their confidence. To this end public password certification bodies (PKIs) chosen by the user will be employed.

4.3 The LEFIS Network

The expressed networking activities could not be possible without the European and international joint activity of partners involved in the LEFIS Network. This section deals with establishment and activities of the Network.

The Network was necessary. Neither the expressed societal changes nor the corresponding legal, political and educational needs were unforeseeable a couple of years ago. A number of initiatives had been developed across Europe to explore the ongoing development of modern societies. Yet, they remain in a sense isolated initiatives, inasmuch as there is little contact and knowledge transfer among them. Having regard to the tight intertwining of theoretical, political, legal, technical and educational aspects of the network society, there is actually a certain lack of coordinated and integrative initiatives.

In order to surmount this problem, a strong, consistent and comprehensive legal framework for the knowledge and information society was needed that combined educational, policy aspects.

This idea underlay the establishment of the LEFIS Thematic Network (LEFIS-TN) from 2003 till 2007 which, with European Union support, has emerged as a solid teaching and research infrastructure on law and ICT. The continuity and progress of this approach, however, necessitates further work on its social and institutional impact, feasibility and acceptance in relation to other matters in law. [38]

It is no doubt that such an infrastructure requires a highly qualified and experienced group of participants. In this regard, the LEFIS-TN has taken advantage from several previous European Union -supported projects and initiatives with like-minded, albeit narrower scope. Three milestones may be underlined in this regard.

Firstly, LEFIS activities can be traced back to 1999, when nineteen university faculties of law from ten European countries joined together under the coordination of the University of Zaragoza to develop and implement high-quality teaching models for both postgraduate and undergraduate courses in IT law. This initiative was promoted by the SOCRATES/ERASMUS programme, in particular through CDA, PROG and DISS.

Secondly, in an attempt to bring together the academic, and the industrial and institutional perspectives, the LEFIS Thematic Network took these efforts (from 2003 to 2007) to a new level and has significantly extended the dissemination activities. [39] It is worth highlighting that these activities stretch worldwide through the European Union's ALFA or AECI programmes that were the origin of the EGOBS Observatory activities. [40]

Thirdly, from 2007 the Law and ICT Shared Virtual Campus project was initiated with the support of the European Union's Virtual Campus Programme that extended the initial development, and included lifelong learning, taking as partners for the teaching of the law the majority of the members of the proposed new LEFIS Network. [41] The project uses a mixture of traditional and new methodologies and technologies, and engages with the European Union's higher education reform processes. The LEFIS Network encourages joint activities with other partners (including commercial partners) through bilateral agreements.

5 Conclusion

This chapter has demonstrated that a correct definition of the context of research and development is required; taking into account the specific needs and functions of jurists, legal institutions and processes for successful application development.

Thus, the isolated consideration of technical applications based on abstract legal norms, legal theories or expert systems which are not grounded within the socio-legal context will result in inappropriate development. Such development requires research groups to be on the same wavelength as the actors, institutions and processes in the specific legal domain. The achievement of these tasks can benefit greatly from the shared experience of national and international collaboration.

[1] Department of Penal Law, Philosophy of Law and History of Law, University of Saragossa.

[2] The term is derived from M. Castells, The Information Age: Economy Society, Culture. Vol 1 The Rise of the Network Society 2nd ed. (Oxford: Blackwell 2000).

[3] Technological development is one of the forces behind the network society and current legal practices, but is not the only one. Another entails the globalization phenomenon, and there are still more: multiculturalism for example. We are not concerned here with either the description or study of these other causes. We do however recognize their relevance to our work.

[4] See especially J. Bing, Handbook of Legal Information Retrieval, (Oslo: Norwegian Research Center for Computers and Law 1984). l (visited 15 December 2008).

[5] See J. Dumortier, S. Kelm, H. Nilsson, G. Skouma. and P. Vas Eecke, The Legal and Market Aspects of Electronic Signatures in Europe, Study for the European Commission within the e­Europe 2005 Framework, (Leuven: Interdisciplinary Centre for law and ICT 2005). (visited 15 December 2008)

[6] A. Saarenpää, 'Perspectives on Privacy' in A. Saarenpää, (ed.), Legal Privacy. LEFIS Series, vol. 5, (Zaragoza: Prensas Universitarias 2008).

[7] The Group commenced work in the 1980s but was formally recognized by the government of Aragon in 2003. It is funded annually by this government in complementary form to the obtained funds in public concourses and knowledge transfers projects. For information on the Research Group see (visited 15 December 2008).

[8] LEFIS is a registered mark. The European LEFIS mark is the number 005625132, published in the Bulletin of Communitarian marks number 2007/066, the 10/12/2007.

[9] M. Sanchez-Mazas, 'Modelli aritmetici per l'informatica giuridica', Rivista Informatica i Diritto, 1978, 2; C. deBessonet, 'An automated intelligent system based on a model of a legal system', Rutgers Computer and Technology law Journal, 1984, 10.

[10] A. Aarnio, R. Alexy, A. Peczenick, 'The foundation of legal reasoning', Rechtstheorie 1981; J. Habermas, Theorie des Kommunikativen Handelns, (Frankfurt: Suhrkap 1981).

[11] F. Galindo, 'El derecho, ¿habla o lenguaje? Una aproximación a su carácter a través de la informatización de una disposición jurídica', in C. Martin Vide, (ed.), Lenguajes naturales y lenguajes formales, (Barcelona: Facultad de Filología 1985).

[13] Another example of the limited possibilities of the use of these resources in law was the expert system on the Latent Damage Act of 1986, P. Capper and R. Susskind, Latent Damage Law - The Expert System: A Study of Computers in Legal Problem Solving (London: Butterworths1988).

[14] F. Galindo, 'Expert systems as tools for the explanation of the legal domain: The ARPO experiences', (1992) 4 Expert Systems with Applications 363-367.

[15] F. Galindo, 'The legal decision as a political problem. A starting point for a profitable relationship between AI and law', Adversaria l Reasoning and Artificial Intelligence and Legal Reasoning. Workshop Notes from the Eighth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (Boston: AAAI90 1990).

[16] On the communicative concept of law see also: F. Galindo, 'The communicative concept of law' Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial law, 41, 1998.

[17] Baaz, M., Galindo, F., Quirchmayr, G., Vazquez, M., 'The application of Kripke-type structures to regional development programs' in V. Marik, J. Lazansky and R. Wagner, (eds.), Database and Expert Systems Applications, (Heidelberg: Springer 1993).

[18] J. Pastor, J. Delgado and F. Galindo, (eds.), Criptografía, privacidad y autodeterminación informática (Zaragoza: Facultad de Derecho and Centro Politécnico Superior 1995).

[19] The movement 'Law via the Internet' movement. For post1997 Conferences see: view=article&id=16&Itemid=61 (visited 16 December 2008). See Greenleaf this volume.

[20] References to this evolution in Spain are located at: (visited 15 December 2008).

[21] An early and concrete example in relation with the activities of the public administration and Internet is in: F. Galindo, J.F. Muñoz and A. Rivas, 'Elaboración de un plan estratégico para la implantación del correo electrónico en la Diputación General de Aragón' in IV Jornadas sobre las tecnologías de lainformación para la modernización de las Administraciones Públicas, TECNIMAP95 (Madrid: Ministerio para las Administraciones Públicas 1995).

[22] F. Galindo and G. Quirchmayr, (eds.), 'Advances in electronic government', Pre-Proceedings of theWorking Conference of the International Federation of Information Processing (Zaragoza: Seminario de Informática y Derecho, Universidad de Zaragoza 2000).

[23] The basic directives were: Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the Protection of Individuals with Regard to the Processing of Personal Data and on the Free Movement of Such Data, the Directive 1999/93/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 1999 on a Community Framework for Electronic Signatures; the Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on Certain Legal Aspects of Information Society Services, in particular Electronic Commerce in the Internal Market ('Directive on Electronic Commerce') and the Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 Concerning the Processing of Personal Data and the Protection of Privacy in the Electronic Communications Sector (Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications)

[24] The most significant project was the EU-supported Aequitas project 'The admission as evidence in trials of penal character of electronic products signed digitally'. The final report (1998) is located at: study11.htm (visited 15.12. 2008)

[25] F. Galindo, 'Public key certification providers and e-government assurance agencies. An appraisal of trust on the Internet' in Database and Expert Systems Applications. Workshops (Los Alamitos: IEEE 2001).

[26] The joint activities with the Spanish notaries originated the Notaries Agency of Certification: (visited 15 December 2008).

[27] See the PKI system LEFIS UNIZAR in: (visited 16 December 2008)

[28] 'Ubiquitous society' is a very usual expression in Nordic countries: R. Aarnio, 'Data protection here and now' in A. Saarenpää, (ed.), Legal Privacy, LEFIS Series, vol. 5, (Zaragoza: Prensas Universitarias, 2008).

[29] F. Galindo, 'Justicia, gobernanza y legalidad' Seqüência, vol 17, 2007.

[30] F. Galindo, (ed.), Gobierno, derecho y tecnologías: Las actividades de los poderes públicos (Cizur Menor: Thomson Civitas, 2006).

[31] F. Galindo, (ed.), LIACTES/IFIP Workshop on E-Government: Legal, Technical and Pedagogical Aspects, Albarracin Spain, 8-10 May 2003,The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT). jilt/2003_1/liactes (visited 16 December 2008).

[32] The Law and ICT Shared Virtual Campus is supported by the European Union, Programme Virtual Campuses, Project

133837-LLP-1-2007-ES-ERASMUSEVC. 16,12, 2008).

[34] See note 33.

[35] This is LEFISpedia. See: (visited 16 December 2008).

[36] This is the LEFIS digital Library. (visited 16 December 2008)

[39] See:

[41] Ibid.