[Open-Legislation] Law Census proposal

Theodora Middleton theodora.middleton at okfn.org
Mon Jan 20 10:20:21 UTC 2014

This is really exciting - looking forward to hearing more!

On 17 January 2014 07:56, Enric Garcia Torrents <enricgarcia at uoc.edu> wrote:

> Dear All,
> following conversations with Sander last Friday, and Rufus at the last
> Open Data Maker Night at London, we are proposing the group a new community
> project. It is a *open data census <http://census.okfn.org/>** specific
> to law*, to keep track of the degree of openness and transparency of
> courts world-wide. Although advocacy is the primary goal, such census will
> include links to the *official sources of data*, thus becoming useful as
> a directory as well. Its design will be based in the general census code<https://github.com/okfn/opendatacensus/>,
> including minor adjustments to fit the domain. I.e. we reckon it would be
> better to present the census in a court by court basis, while allowing for
> filtering by region, country, subject (criminal, civil, administrative,
> human rights, international trade,...) and court category (international
> court, supreme court, ,...), instead of trying to present it all in a
> country by country basis -which would be problematic, as not all justice
> systems are integrated by the same elements, and there are many justice
> institutions above the national level-. Scores beyond court level should be
> dynamically generated as an aggregate of scores within any given sub-set,
> using the same filtering parameters to create the groups.
> Being a *community project*, it is and will always be completely open to
> anyone's ideas and participation. We are looking forward to receive
> feedback on design specification and all other aspects of it, shaping and
> building it up collectively. Please note that the project refers to the
> judiciary and all its bodies, international courts, and arbitration
> centers. Unless there is enough quorum of members willing to take the
> legislative side forward, the inclusion of parliaments and other
> institutions will be left aside for the time being, as it would involve
> different parameters and filtering options. The proposed solution is to
> include an assessment of the legislation data as part of the court ranking
> "Rules and Legislation" (attached image), that would cover both the rules
> and conventions governing that court, and the availability of the laws of
> its jurisdiction. Other proposed columns refer to the availability of
> decisions, opinions, proceedings and neutrals (judges, arbitrators,...)
> details, which could be expanded if you think there should be more. As for
> the breakdown, we have restricted the modifications to one single addition,
> the question: "Is it linked?", leaving it to the information panel the
> commentary on which standards are being implemented, if any. To end with,
> we propose adding two more colors to the census key, orange to denote
> partially available data (if some is online, some is not, some is in bulk,
> some is not, etc, leaving to the comments sections to specify from which
> year to which year data is available, or which other restrictions apply),
> and black in case an assessed item is not applicable to any given court.
> As soon as the server at the Open Knowledge Foundation is available we can
> install the census instance, make the basic modifications and set up a
> Github repository of the forked source code, if necessary. From that point
> onward the design and programming can be easily managed collectively,
> although we were talking about raising the funds needed to cover the
> expenses of the original OKFN's census developer, so he can get involved
> and coordinate efforts in developing the census platforms. We have already
> prepared a list of over two thousand courts and centers (
> https://stanford.box.com/census), and are ready to start assessing them
> as soon as everything is up and running. This list is non-comprehensive and
> is not intended to be followed by the community -every individual and every
> local group is encouraged to add information on their own jurisdictions
> and/or the courts of their interest-. Only this way all courts can be
> eventually covered. We will, in any case, start by including to the census
> the status of all international courts, arbitration centers and national
> supreme courts.
> Hope you find it interesting.
> Looking forward to collaborate on this.
> Cheers,
> Enric
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