LawTech and the building of eResearch capability in the interdisciplinary domain of legal natural language processing

Mr Geordie Zhang1

1The University Of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

In this talk, we present the experiences of developing a brand new interdisciplinary research program at the University of Melbourne, LawTech, from the perspective of Melbourne Data Analytics Platform (MDAP), a new academic specialist unit at the University of Melbourne specifically designed to supercharge computationally and data intensive research at the university.  LawTech applies cutting-edge computational natural language processing (NLP) models, based on machine learning and deep learning, to the problem of classifying texts from court judgements.  As the common law legal system in Australia relies heavily on lawyers and judges reading large volumes of court judgements of previous cases, extracting the legal principles propounded in these judgements, and applying them to new cases, the development of machine-learning based technologies for computer assisted information extraction from court judgements has a profound effect on the Australian legal community, as well as legal communities from other common law countries (e.g. UK, US, India, Singapore).  This talk will cover what we have found to have been critical to the initial development of LawTech, how the different eResearch services at the University of Melbourne contributed towards the research program, the challenges along the way, the lessons learnt, and how the undertaking of such an interdisciplinary research program has changed the eResearch and researcher communities at the university who have been directly involved with LawTech.

Below is a list of research collaborators in the LawTech research programme:

Timothy Baldwin1, Daniel Beck1, Hui Chia2, Emily Fitzgerald3, Rohit Gupta3, Saket Khandelwal3, Kabir Manandhar Shrestha3, Meladel Mistica1, Jeannie Patterson2, Priyanka Pillai3, Geordie Zhang3
1School of Computing and Information Systems, The University of Melbourne
2Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne
3Melbourne Data Analytics Platform, The University of Melbourne


Geordie Zhang is a Research Data Specialist at the Melbourne Data Analytics Platform (MDAP), the University of Melbourne.  His research interests include digital humanities and social sciences, computational economics, network information theory, and natural language processing.  His eResearch interests include research cloud and high-performance computing, databases for humanities and social sciences datasets, and knowledge translation in data-intensive research.

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