Casemates

Countries

Luxembourg

Policy areas

Organisation name Ministry of State – Central Legislation Service

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Contact person: John Dann, Director

Nowadays, legislation is not researched and read exclusively by lawyers. The non-legal public may also need to look for a legislative act in force in its consolidated version, without having to consult multiple amendments. Moreover, the number of legislative and regulatory acts continues to increase. This complexity affects economic activity and generates additional burdens for citizens, businesses and municipalities, complicating the overall monitoring of government work. Until recently, Luxembourg’s legislation was based on a paper version and having access to it was very difficult for citizens, business and civil servants, and sometimes also for ministries. However, today’s world is characterised by a new paradigm: access, sharing and enrichment of legislative information. In this context, a change was necessary, in the direction of digitisation.

In January 2017, a full set of new applications and websites was implemented, based on semantic web technologies, a new ontology – jolux – and controlled vocabularies. This ecosystem sets the grounds for sharing and interconnecting legal information between different applications and providing better access to legislation for citizens and businesses. The major objectives behind this initiative were

  • the modernisation of publishing the Official Journal;
  • a facilitated accessibility and participation;
  • access to public information;
  • a new ‘Legislative Open Data’ for more transparency and efficiency and to better reflect the needs of users.

Therefore, a new portal for Luxembourg legislation – legilux.lu – was set up:

  • Access to and the exchange of information were facilitated.
  • The publication process was fully digitised and legislative complexity reduced.
  • The texts introduced into the legislative procedures were standardised and the administrative costs were reduced.

An ecosystem was created around legal data where each application will access the same data, compared to a silo approach. Better search results were provided either on the portal or via search engines such as Google to provide users with search facilities to access legislation in force as it stands.

The data-centric strategy gives priority to the longevity and stability of the data model, and the sustainability of the legal knowledge graph as its content, thanks to its XML format and sematic web technologies. Websites are just a window on the legal knowledge graph, and therefore can be easily updated over time.

After only three years of the project, it can be considered a success. For example, the Swiss federal government implemented the Casemates software, the treaty management application, the text publication application and the application for monitoring the legislative processes. The applications were customised and the data migration completed in only 18 months, and have been operational for the Swiss federal government since 1 January 2021.

In February 2021, the Italian government also decided to adopt the legislative data model of Luxembourg (jolux ontology) and Casemates applications to develop their new Italian official journal.

The quality of the solution, its adaptability and reusability, thanks to the use of semantic web technologies, could lead to the adoption of the solution by other official journals. This would reducing the cost of their projects and their risk while improving semantic interoperability between legislations of the European countries for the benefit of European citizens, professionals and companies.

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