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InterLex

InterLex is a EU-funded project coordinated by the University of Turin, involving five European-wide academic institutions, a software development company specialising in legal informatics, and a Lawyers Association. The aim of the two-year project, which started in September 2018, is to develop a platform for providing information, decision support and training on private international law.

About

The EU internal market cannot function properly without a common set of conflict-of-laws rules governing jurisdiction and applicable law in civil and commercial matters. Preventing obstacles to the freedom of movement of individuals and businesses within the Union requires mutual recognition of judgments in private international law (PIL) matters. After the Treaty of Amsterdam came into force on 1 May 1999, judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters was transferred to EU institutions and PIL was effected primarily by means of EC regulations adopted by the Council and the Parliament. The European PIL provisions strive to harmonise the following issues:

  1. which state court has jurisdiction in private matters having cross-border implications,
  2. which state law is applicable in such matters, and
  3. under which conditions can a foreign decision be recognised and enforced in another country.

Scientific research on PIL reveals the need for improved understanding of the interaction between European and national laws on PIL, as well as commonalities and differences among the different PIL instruments at the national and international level. For decades, however, knowledge of the intricate and difficult to understand matters of PIL has been the privilege of a relatively small group of dedicated legal professionals. Even experienced lawyers find the subject unusually complex. The need to improve the application of PIL is particularly intense in the domain of Internet law. As the Internet transcends national barriers, many Internet law cases involve different legal systems. PIL issues are involved in many Internet Law cases, issues such as contracts, consumer protection, torts, and data protection. Moreover, the global dimension of today’s information society generates many new complex legal issues pertaining to Internet-related PIL.

More legal professionals should have the capacity to correctly address any issue of PIL. The development of computational models of PIL can enable a deeper understanding of the logic of PIL instruments, of overlaps, inconsistencies and gaps, and can support both the application of PIL regulation and their reform. The InterLex platform is intended to use such technologies to identify which legal system(s) have jurisdiction in a particular case, and retrieve relevant legal materials. It includes three modules:

  • The Decision Support Module (DSM) is an interactive expert module that offers users a guided tour for determining jurisdiction and/or applicable law in a specific case with a “foreign” element.
  • The Find Law Module (FLM) supports the user in retrieving European, international and national legislation and case law in the area of private international law as well as commentaries by renowned experts, journal articles, guidelines and other theoretical and practical materials.
  • The Training Module (TM) is a set of training tools on PIL to be used in taught courses and self training for law students and magistrates. It includes interactive visualisation and practical exercises. It provides access to the DSM and to the FLM, while also providing lecturers and tutors with the necessary functional tools and interactive environment to publish and interlink their own training materials, such as articles, comments, lectures, guidelines, answers to questions, sample tests, etc.

The Consortium

The InterLex consortium brings together organisations with complementary skills and expertise.

  • The Computer Science Department of the University of Turin (UNITO-CS) has taken part in several EU-funded research projects in legal informatics (e.g. EUCases [hyperlink: www.eucases.eu], BO-ECLI [hyperlink: bo-ecli.eu] and MIREL [hyperlink: www.mirelproject.eu]) and is a partner in the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate in Law, Science and Technology [hyperlink: www.last-jd.eu]. UNITO-CS is responsible for WP1, management and coordination of the project, under the leadership of Luigi di Caro.
  • The Law Department of the University of Turin (UNITO-LAW) has project-centred knowledge and expertise in EU law. The InterLex project will also benefit from their physical proximity to the co-ordinating partner, UNITO-CS. UNITO-LAW is responsible for WP2, desk research: legal sources of Interlex platform, under the leadership of Francesco Costamagna.
  • CIRSFID (Interdepartmental Centre for Research in the History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Law and in Computer Science and Law) is a leading legal informatics research centre at the University of Bologna (UNIBO). UNIBO will play the crucial role of encoding PIL rules and their application in meaningful representations, enabling automatic reasoning over legal cases in WP3, under the leadership of Giovanni Sartor.
  • Apis Europe AD is a private joint-stock company specialising in the analysis, design, development, implementation and maintenance of legal information systems and large databases for legal and company data. Apis has developed various products and services related to EU law, such as EuroCases [hyperlink: eurocases.eu]. Apis is responsible for WP4, development of the InterLex online platform, under the leadership of Hristo Konstantinov.
  • The European University Institute – Centre for Judicial Cooperation (EUI-CJC)brings expertise on collaboration and knowledge sharing between legal practitioners and the academic community. EUI-CJC will play a fundamental role in providing training activities on PIL for stakeholders in WP5 under the leadership of Federica Casarosa.

Other partners will provide consultancy service.

  • Masaryk University (MU) will participate via their Institute of Law and Technology, a leading academic institution in the Czech Republic in the fields of legal informatics and law of information & communication technologies.
  • The University of Konstanz (KU) will bring legal expertise. The University of Konstanz (KU) is ranked among the global top 250 by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and cooperates with a large number of renowned universities such as Yale University, the University of Chicago, UC Berkeley and the University of Zurich.
  • The Council of the Bar Association of Rome (COAROMA) exercises the duties and functions prescribed by law to guarantee the independence and autonomy of lawyers, promoting training events at different levels: forensic schools, courses for the acquisition of special qualifications and professional training courses.

Contacts

InterLex

 
THE CIRSFID TEAM:
- Giovanni Sartor giovanni.sartor@unibo.it
(Scientific Coordinator of the Bologna Unit and Professor of Legal Informatics and Legal Theory)
- Alessandra Zanobetti alessandra.zanobetti@unibo.it
(Professor of International Private Law)
- Giuseppe Contissa giuseppe.contissa@unibo.it
(Adjunct Professor of Legal Informatics)
- Francesca Lagioia francesca.lagioia@unibo.it
(Postdoctoral Researcher)
- Dan Jerker Börje Svantesson dasvante@bond.edu.au
(Co-Director of the Centre for Commercial Law at Bond University and a Researcher at the Swedish Law & Informatics Research Institute, Stockholm University)

OTHER CONTACTS:
- Luigi di Caro luigi.dicaro@unito.it
(Scientific Coordinator of the InterLex Project, Turin Unit)
- Llio Humphreys humphrey@di.unito.it
(Project Manager)

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