Institute of Law Organizes Workshop on Akoma Ntoso Technology

In the context of its extensive
effort to further develop and upgrade the Palestinian Legal and Judicial System
AL-MUQTAFI, the Institute of Law (IoL) at BZU hosted from 23-25 April 2012 a
training workshop on the Akoma Ntoso model. The IoL persistently seeks to
integrate and incorporate legal and judicial theories and the most up-to-date
programming tools. The workshop brought together IoL researchers and IT
specialists. In addition to Mr. Ashok Hariharan, who is Software Development
Coordinator at UN/DESA on the Africa i-Parliament Action Plan, law and IT
experts from the University of Bologna in Italy, including Professor Monica
Palmirani and Mr. Gioele Barabucci, provided the training.



Experts covered theoretical and applied areas of the training. Professor Palmirani
explained that Akoma Ntoso “is an advanced technique that processes and
displays legislative and legal data. Integrating the theory of law with most
effective, efficient and tailor-made IT models, Akoma Ntoso facilitates linking
legal concepts and documents.” In the legal context, the Akoma Ntoso model
processes and displays online laws and court judgments, enabling
multidisciplinary users to view legal principles that inform various specializations.
Additionally, the Akoma Ntoso system consolidates a common language used by
various legislative bodies. Besides tracking phases of the legislative cycle,
Akoma Ntoso informs legislative drafting by consolidating respective rules and guidance,
enabling a clearer and more consistent legislative content.

Trainers gave a presentation on standard naming techniques for identifying
legal resources using Akoma Ntoso. Using the same technology, experts explained
how to deal with metadata describing regulations or court judgments, identify
relevant concepts, process the legislative cycle, and integrate amendments. To
take account of the Palestinian legal and legislative framework, panelists
elaborated that Akoma Ntoso helps identify components of court decisions and
introduced principles needed to customize the model.

On the second training day, experts provided an overview of Bungeni Editor
techniques, highlighting the relationship with the Akoma Ntoso design. Having
introduced tools needed to customize and render the model locally, trainers
explained how the Bungeni Editor helps produce legal documents in tandem with
the Akoma Ntoso operation.

To illustrate the theoretical presentation, experts provided practical examples
relating to Palestinian and non-Palestinian legislations. Discussants addressed
issues of legislative and judicial practices and how to align the Akoma Ntoso
system with current AL-MUQTAFI techniques. An assessment was made of the
commonalities between AL-MUQTAFI and Akoma Ntoso software applications with a
future prospect of transformation into the new Akoma Ntoso system.

Along side the two-day workshop, the IoL IT team and Mr. Hariharan visited the
Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Currently, a United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) team is assessing PLC IT needs. Mr. Hariharan gave a
presentation on the Bungeni Editor model, in terms of scope and benefits availed
to parliamentary functions. In this context, the IoL’s experience in customizing
and locally rendering Bungeni Editor techniques can be utilized by the PLC to
edit and analyze published legislation. Additionally, the PLC can apply these
techniques to the legislation cycle, thereby scaling up the process and
invigorating civic monitoring of PLC performance. The IoL research team also
overviewed achievements and progress the IoL has made towards customizing the
Bungeni Editor model with a view to processing Palestinian legislations. The
system will ultimately be adopted as a major software application to process AL-MUQTAFI
legal documents.