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  1. 1. 1. Introduction 1 Environment and Tools The modern world exposes us to an increasing for Creating Legal Doc- amount of information. This applies to our private lives as well as to the business environment. We uments Online are both the receivers and the generators of this in- formation. Modern information technology (IT) has so far developed many more tools and applica- Anton Tomažič tions for receiving (i.e., searching for) information INform, Knowledge Distribution Ltd. than it has for generating it. However, the saved time and the added value for the commercial medi- Matija Jamnik ating of information can be much higher than the INform, Knowledge Distribution Ltd. added value of the now already traditional, infor- mation industry. Users could save a lot more time by having access to the intellectual output that en- Primož Ličen ables them to submit their information to appropri- INform, Knowledge Distribution Ltd. ate addresses (using many kinds of smart e-forms) than by being able to search for information, which is often only the first step of the working process. Our intellectual activities are not always unique Abstract and innovative: very often they are routine tasks Complex legal documents can now be created on- that require a lot of repetition and, as a result, a lot line, using special smart templates (procedures, of time is required for the same mental processes. questionnaires, instructions, comments, links, legal So, apart from the “passive” information that is ob- Berend de Vries, Ronald Leenes, John Zeleznikow - Meeting the fuss background etc.). Special portal for knowledge dis- tained with the help of the traditional IT industry, tribution is the place where authors and users meet users should also be able to access an archive of in a friendly environment, using all the necessary “active” information that can support their various tools just with their browser. In the future much more elements of AI will be added to the ‘smart intellectual tasks that are performed in their private forms’ thus upgrading them to the ‘intelligent forms’. and business lives. As a consequence of being able to skip these routine tasks, users would then have additional time for more important and more cre- ative activities. As a result, their productivity would increase – and they would be prepared to pay for access to easily available and useful appli- cations much more than they would for passive in- formation.
  2. 2. 2 These - the research, development, implementa- obser- tion and maintenance of various web- vations are already reflected in various types of based forms, with a special emphasis on business initiatives and can be found on the web e-administration and e-government; (various forms, templates and other tools), but they - easier and faster response of the public seem to have been created rather randomly and administration, because of the better in- fractionally. So far they have not yet appeared as a put (error free because of the automatic well-planned, well-rounded attempt to set up a new checking of the smart forms), including industry of knowledge exchange using the latest “on the fly” decisions and other official IT–web technology. Focusing on a specific way of acts. bringing together the authors and the users of knowledge who are active in all fields of human activity will result in a commercial advantage: 3. Knowledge Distribution in the Legal those who manage to design, for the first time, an Field appropriate business model and set up a network This new model of operation might lead to another allowing a well-planned and monitored exchange interesting consequence concerning lawyers of knowledge will be entitled to an appropriate fee (though not positive for everybody): the web will for the resulting services. Law has been very slow, enable us to obtain (create) a number of documents IAAIL compared to other professions, in the development based on various templates (contracts, wills, settle- works and use of Information Technology. The use of IT ments, applications, etc) that will be cheaper than hop by the judiciary and other legal professionals is the documents obtained directly from lawyers. It growing rapidly. IT now has a role to play in help- series will soon become clear that not all the services ing parties resolve disputes. Not only are legal provided by lawyers are real legal advice, and that - knowledge based systems appearing as tools that they generate a lot of income by simply providing Seco provide legal advice to the disputing parties, but administrative services that can, in everyday prac- nd there are numerous systems that actually (help) set- tice, be done by their secretaries. No law forbids intern tle disputes. They are emerging in research labs non-legal persons from preparing their own docu- and in the market place and are defined as Online ation ments (even legal ones!) or from obtaining help Dispute Resolution (ODR) services. from other non-legal persons if they can, in this al way, save some money. As a consequence, some ODR lawyers might make less money by doing routine 2. New Online Services for Knowledge Wors Distribution tasks, but they will have more time for the provi- kop sion of real legal assistance. However, some The above conclusions lead us to an entirely new lawyers (probably the young and computer-literate) industry, which will cover the following services will be able to earn more than they have been earn- and activities: ing so far if they get in touch with an appropriate - the provision of a web-based information company and participate in the preparation and up- infrastructure for the purpose of knowl- dating of templates. The results of such coopera- edge exchange between authors and in- tion will be beneficial to everybody: the productiv- terested users; ity of the lawyers will increase and the costs of the - the creation, installation and mainte- end users will decrease. nance of various templates and proce- dures available on the internet; 4. Producing Legal Documents for - the development and maintenance of the Administration Purposes technology used for direct communica- tion between providers of different intel- lectual services (counselors, experts, val- uators, translators, lawyers, notaries, in- dependent authors) and their clients;
  3. 3. Although the idea of knowledge distribution on the Today one could hardly find a public administra- 3 Internet had been developed as a general approach tion that does not implement or at least plan some to solving various problems people encounter on a sort of e-Administration or e-Government. But not daily basis, especially the ones linked with creating all of them have realized that the real quality and and producing different legal and non-legal docu- fast progress can only be achieved through synergy ments, it soon became obvious that one of its most and cooperation between the public and the private meaningful realizations should be in the field of sector. The public administration of the Republic public administration. Namely, there is no other of Slovenia were among the first to have started to domain of human living that to such an extent implement the policy of free “re-use” of the infor- would require us to provide data and information mation from the public sector. Instead of develop- in a formalized and prescribed way. ing its own detailed solutions the state administra- In order to make the idea of knowledge distribution tion provides just an entrance point (for adminis- applicable to the needs and purposes of public ad- trative procedures) on the official central web por- ministration and its efforts to bring its services tal (e-Administration, see Picture 2) where com- closer to citizens and businesses and to make these mercial products (input-forms) are not only tolerat- services faster and more satisfying, two basic rules ed, but also welcomed. Citizens therefore have had to be observed: 1. smart electronic templates several possibilities: to either use simple forms for (i.e. the on-line electronic fill-in forms) had to have free or to choose among different commercial ones the capacity to guide users through the fill-in pro- with different prices. Companies that have devel- cess as well as the capacity of “real time (on-the- oped better products (that can save users more click)” adjustment to the data or choice (answer) time) would be able to sell them at the higher provided by those users; 2. production of smart prices than those that are left behind. For the public electronic templates had to be made simple in a administration it only matters, that the input data way that any public servant could manufacture (the application) is complete and of high quality, Berend de Vries, Ronald Leenes, John Zeleznikow - Meeting the fuss them on-line without the help of a qualified com- no matter which form is being used. puter programmer or any other computer expert. If these premises are met, public administrations can 5. Traditional Input Forms are only benefit from the cooperation and synergy with Insufficient the private sector in developing user friendly smart e-forms. It is the undisputed fact that a large proportion of users of public administration services have had problems and difficulties when communicating with governmental bodies and agencies and/or in- stitutions of local self-government in order to ei- ther assert and defend their rights and legal privi- leges or simply just to gain relevant information or data. In each case they have had to convey certain data and to make certain claims, either in paper or electronically. As the majority of users are unaware of what data should be conveyed and how legal claims should be made, the public administration usually provides them with forms, i.e. documents (paper or electronic) with blank spaces for inser- tion of required or requested information. Although such forms can be helpful and a welcome solution for simple matters (e.g. when a citizen applies for a new personal identification card or a passport), they are insufficient in more complex cases where more data is to be conveyed (e.g. when appealing a magistrate’s decision on traffic misdemeanor).
  4. 4. 4 The main deficiency of these forms is the fact that Each section consists of one or more variables they are fixed, “flat”, i.e. static and that they are (each variable being represented by a question that abstract which means there is usually only one the application poses to the user) and of text that is form for different real life situations. Even if there displayed in the final document and which, inter is more than one form, it is impossible to cover all alia, reflects the value of the variable, i.e. the an- of the actual real life possibilities with abstract swer the user has given or the choice she or he has forms. Therefore the user who fills in such a form made. is invariably confused as there are blank spaces Each template may consist of any number of sec- that do not apply given her or his concrete situa- tions and each section may contain any number of tion, while on the other hand there could be miss- variables and any amount of text. Each section can ing blank spaces as she or he perhaps wanted to have any number of conditions attached to it. Since add additional information that could be relevant the conditions are simultaneously calculated only for the case and/or to make additional claims. At the sections the conditions of which have been met the same time, adding extensive instructions for the are executed, meaning the user only gets the ques- users as to who should fill in which blank spaces tions from these sections. As a result only the text can generate even more confusion. from these sections (and the values of its variables) is displayed in the final document. This procedure 6. Smart Electronic Templates are ensures that only the questions that correspond to IAAIL Built “On the Fly” users’ concrete situation are displayed which in ef- works fect means that each form is custom-made to suit hop The Internet application that enables the manufac- the individual user and his unique status and needs. turing and on-line publishing of smart electronic series In addition there is the possibility of equipping templates (called the SEPO) has the aspiration of - offering both the public administration and its each question users have to answer with any num- Seco ber of interactive explanations, examples, warn- users a new and unique approach to the way users ings, recommendations, web links etc. in order to nd communicate with public administration. Therefore provide for necessary information to help users de- intern it had to overcome the problem deriving from the cide and to make their answers and choices easier fact that there cannot be a form for each and every ation and more reliable. If the user at any step during the real situation that individual users may find them- al selves in. In other words, the forms had to be made completion process finds any of the previous an- swers and/or choices to be inappropriate, she or he ODR flexible so that they would adjust to the concrete can always go back and correct them. Wors situation of each individual user. kop The solution to the problem was the division of forms (or in this case smart electronic templates as 7. Smart Electronic Templates are we call them) into sections which in the process of Easy to Make completion are or are not executed depending on If the system of smart electronic templates is to be whether or not certain conditions have been met. widely applicable for any public administration The application simultaneously calculates whether and local self government institution (including or not these conditions have been met on the basis small municipalities of under 5.000 inhabitants), of answers1 users provide and/or on the basis of creation, customization and on-line publication of choices they make2 when completing the form. the templates had to be made as easy as possible. And it was, as it takes no more than just basic knowledge of word processing and Internet brows- ing to perform the above tasks. Every public ser- vant in the EU countries is (should be) in posses- 1 Users write their answers into blank boxes. sion of these skills. 2 Users make their choices using drop down lists, radio buttons and/or check boxes. The choices are 8. The Steps in Producing Electronic given in advance. Templates
  5. 5. The producer of a smart electronic template (au- Defining conditions for any of the sections is simi- 5 thor) has three basic tasks to do in order to make larly simple. First of all, the base of the condition the template work. She or he must 1. Define the has to be determined choosing between variables sections and variables within those sections, 2. De- from previous sections and previous sections them- fine the text of each section, 3. Define the condi- selves. In step two the value of chosen variable tions for the sections the execution of which de- must be set if the base of the condition is a vari- pends on whether or not one or more of those con- able. If during the completion process the set value ditions have been met. was reached the condition has been met and the When defining the variables the creator of a tem- conditioned section will be executed (given there plate firstly has to choose what kind of variable it are either no other conditions for this section or if should be (whether it should be an insert box, a there is more than one condition that all of the con- drop down menu, a radio button list or a checkbox) ditions have been met). If the base of the condition and secondly she or he has to define the question is a previous section it has to be determined which users of the template will have to answer. If whether there is a positive or a negative relation- the variable is an insert box type, validation of ship between the two sections.5 Any number of users’ answers is possible.3 If the variable is of any conditions of any type can be combined; in this other type, the different possibilities users must case the section will be executed only if all of the choose from must be set. To this point it is all sim- conditions have been met. ple word processing and “OK and Cancel” Internet browsing. 9. Friendly Environment for the Web When the sections and their variables have been Application defined, text of each section must be written and The web application for producing smart electronic the variables must be inserted into their predeter- templates is actually a set of tools which work in a Berend de Vries, Ronald Leenes, John Zeleznikow - Meeting the fuss mined positions in the text. For this purpose a spe- unified environment. The environment is a frame- cial .xml text designer has been developed. It re- work for all common feature sets that are used by sembles and acts as any usual text editor such as, the tools. These are database connectivity, granular for example, MS Word. Text is written in the usual access right management etc. Such an environment manner while the variables that have previously is a base for a wide configurability of the whole been defined are incorporated into the text using application. All of the application's tools and con- the drag and drop method. The person who designs tents can be specified for each specific user or the template sets the corresponding position in the group of users. Each user or group can have per- text for each variable.4 sonalized tools and personalized contents. 10. Tools for Authors and Users 3 There are many implemented tools that enable cre- For example if the questions goes “What is the e- ation and maintenance of documents and users. mail address of the applicant?”, the users’ answer Tools also offer possibility for commercial use of should be “something@x.yy”, otherwise the appli- cation will produce a warning and will not let users the web application. Some tools are made for sup- any further until the answer is corrected. It is the port, e.g. archive, help, search etc. same with date, numbers, maximum number of let- ters users may type etc. 4 When the questionnaire is completed in its entire- 5 ty by the user the text that was written and format- For example if there is a positive linkage between ted in the .xml designer is reproduced in the final two sections the condition would read as “section 4 document. Instead of variables the acquired values will be executed is section 2 is executed”. If there of variables (i.e. the answers and/or the values of is a negative linkage, the condition would read as the chosen options) are reproduced in the corre- “section 4 will be executed is section 2 is NOT ex- sponding positions within the final document. ecuted”.
  6. 6. 6 One of the goals was to make the use of applica- Major business logic is executed in .NET environ- tion as simple as possible. There are many features ment. Part of operations performs on clients' that emulate use of a desktop application as well. browsers as Javascript. Database queries which de- These are menus, simultaneous work within multi- mand more computer power run as stored proce- ple windows etc. In this way the best characteris- dures on database server. tics of both web and desktop applications are of- fered in one solution. Application was written from scratch. Objects used There are other tools for producing various forms in it are designed so that support the use of future and templates on the market, but this system is the functionalities that are not implemented yet. first and the only one that functions 100% via web All of the management can be done through a web browser (for users, authors, editors and administra- browser. Authors need the MS Internet Explorer 6+ tors alike). It is also very general purpose oriented whereas any other user can use any other popular as it can be used in any aspect of the human life web browser. This type of client does not need di- (business and private), wherever human knowledge stribution of any upgrade of application. Authors, is being distributed. users and even administrators can use services from anywhere. 11. Support for Multiple Languages and Documents are proper XML/HTML documents. IAAIL Localization That is why linking to other sources is much sim- works Web application has implemented localization on pler. That access offers possibility of use of all hop two different levels: multilingual usage of tools XML standards for future functionalities like digi- tal signature of documents etc. series and even more importantly - dynamic content lo- - calization. The architecture of a document allows for different Web application is designed in a way that enables types of content to be merged in the final document Seco as per authors' requirements. Even more important, relatively easy implementation of future enhance- nd the final output depends on specified end-user's in- ments such as support for administrative decisions, intern tool for automated creation of acts of all kinds etc. put thus adding value to the document's content. ation Multi language and multi culture support offer pos- The content of each document is fully customiz- al sibility of simultaneous translation of documents able. Creating and editing text in a document is as ODR and belonging elements into more languages. Doc- simple as using any of the most popular text edi- uments are handled independently of source lan- tors. The tool for editing documents enables au- Wors thors to insert any field or condition that meets guage. As a result we can get documents in more kop their criteria. These elements and their specific val- than one language or culture at same time. Adapta- tions for desired culture (language, writing style...) ues make up a highly personalized finalized prod- are executed on document's author's text and on uct. end-users input synchronously. Structure of documents supports changing of docu- Web application supports use of all world official ment's content to momentary demands that de- cultures with appropriate languages and writing pends on end-user inputs. Basic goal is that authors styles. can implement program logic without program- ming. In that way the application is a kind of pro- gramming tool which does not require knowing technology from authors - just a logical and analyt- 12. Technical Background ical consideration. Program code for fulfilling con- ditions is generated on-the-flay in the background Web application is written in open source .NET for each end-user input. At the end of document framework. Database is SQL Server. Web server is this code is executed again and shows appropriate the IIS. final document.
  7. 7. Most of application is made in .NET environment • that smart forms presented here are now 7 which require pre-compiled code. Code for docu- entering the “industrial age” ments' conditions is executed momentarily, there- • that further development of intelligent fore it is written as script. Application offers a wide forms with more and more artificial in- range variables and suitable conditions for desired document's output, but in the same time offers sim- telligence features will bring us to the ple input of program code in VBScript for ad- “modern age” vanced authors. That makes possible any kind of program logic which author can imagine. Berend de Vries, Ronald Leenes, John Zeleznikow - Meeting the fuss Application enables use of secure connection with clients (SSL). System of rights also offers security and configurability of each page and its elements. Rights act as rights in windows environment. Picture 1. The use of internet for interaction with Rights are read, write, execute, etc. Rights can be public authorities in the European Union also time limited. Application can run on more servers simultaneous- ly. This suits heavy loads caused by more clients' requests in peak traffic hours. Web application also offers use of documents for everyone or just for subscribers with their own do- main and other adaptable settings. This can sepa- rate subscriber's users from others on the same server. These subscribers can be various state ser- vices or any other. 13. Conclusions As a figure of speech we can declare: • that most of online forms that nowadays exist on the internet are in a “stone age” phase of their potential development.
  8. 8. 8 IAAIL works hop series - Seco nd Picture 2. The official E-Administration portal of intern the Republic of Slovenia ation al ODR Wors kop
  9. 9. Picture 3. The starting point of the questionnaire 9 with an explanation as to the legal nature and pur- pose of the form Picture 4. A radio-button type of question serving as a base for three different conditions Berend de Vries, Ronald Leenes, John Zeleznikow - Meeting the fuss
  10. 10. 10 Picture 5. The execution of the section “family name(s)” due to user’s choosing of the “Family name(s)” possibility in previous section IAAIL works hop series - Seco nd intern ation al ODR Wors kop Picture 6. The execution of the section “family name(s)” due to user’s choosing the “Family name(s)” option in previous section
  11. 11. 11 Berend de Vries, Ronald Leenes, John Zeleznikow - Meeting the fuss Picture 7. The final document in the case of user’s choosing of the “Family name(s)” option
  12. 12. 12 IAAIL works hop series - Seco nd Picture 8. Complete administration of the system intern is performed via the same console shared by both ation end users and authors as well as the managers of al the system ODR Wors kop