UvA LogoWelcome to the pages of the Leibniz Center for Law of the University of Amsterdam. As an interdisciplinary research group, we develop intelligent technology to support legal practice both in the private and in the public sector. We apply Artificial Intelligence techniques to problems in legal theory, legal knowledge management and the field of Law in general. In this capacity, we participate in many (inter)national research initiatives and maintain strong ties to the international research community and government agencies.

We have longstanding experience in the development of legal ontologies, automatic legal reasoning and legal knowledge-based systems, (standard) languages for representing legal knowledge and information, user-friendly disclosure of legal data, and the application of information technology in education and legal practice. As an academic partner, the Leibniz Center provides advice on change-management issues of knowledge-intensive legal processes and the improvement of knowledge-productivity in legal organisations.

The Leibniz Center for Law has its roots in the former department of Computer Science & Law (est. 1989) of the Law Faculty of the University of Amsterdam, and currently houses about 15 researchers.

For more background on the Leibniz Center, see our general information pages, and have a look at current projects. Students interested in our work may have a look on current research proposals for Bachelor/Master theses.

New DG Justice project on application of Brussel I

The Leibniz Center is involved in a new DG Justice sponsored project: “The application of Brussels I (recast) in the legal practice of EU Member States” (JUST/2014/JCOO/AG/CIVI/7754). The project is coordinated by the T.M.C. Asser Institute in The Hague (NL). Other partner is the Law School of the Erasmus University in the Rotterdam (NL).

Continue Reading Add comment September 21st, 2016

Leibniz Center in Workshop ICT with Industry

De jongste loot aan het concept van Science with Industry, is de Workshop ICT with Industry. De uitdaging die de Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst IND indiende samen met de Belastingdienst en het Leibniz Center for Law, leverde na een week al een concreet resultaat op. In hun streven naar betere, snellere en transparantere beslissingen, zoeken de IND en de Belastingdienst naar oplossingen voor het semiautomatisch behandelen van grote aantallen zaken.

Lees meer in NWO´s Hypothese:
Wetenschap en industrie in snelkookpan

Add comment April 1st, 2016

NWO workshop Towards a Method for a Formal Analysis of Law

In cooperation with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (DTCA) and the Duth Immigration Services (IND) the Leibniz Center is organizing a National Science Foundation (NWO) sponsored workshop on formal analysis of law.

Continue Reading Add comment July 22nd, 2015

Two PhD positions in Cyber-security (Computer Science)

The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) has funded a project to detail and validate a new concept for the autonomous control of networking and computing facilities to maximize the cyber security of their users. Here control software interacts with programmable network and cloud resources to change the logical or physical topology of the network and a part of the Internet. Similarly the control software interacts with cyber-security software to switch on or off firewalls, honeypots and other cyber- security services. Furthermore the control software adapts the distributed application (payload) itself. Such interactions must lead to a reliable, trusted, and obfuscated distributed system that actively maximizes its cyber-security state.

The research project funds two PhD candidates. Their research yields the science 1) to specify the cyber security state of an information processing system, to visualize and characterize that as well as 2) the science to compute and implement interventions that sets the cyber security stated to a desired one.

The PhD research is done in the context of Air France/KLM, CIENA Networks and TNO that provide data centre, telecom and internet technologies to validate the results and the business context for their dissemination. UvA and TNO provide labs and supervise the research.


The candidates should have completed a master in computer science, or will acquire that on short notice and originate from the EU or USA. A ‘Certificate of Conduct for Natural Persons (VOG NP)’ may be requested by the partners. On a master’s level, the candidates must have knowledge of information theory and mathematics and strong coding abilities. Knowledge of networks, cyber security and distributed systems is considered as a pre. The candidates will stay short periods abroad, must have the ability to give demonstrations to scientific and business audiences. Their grades list demonstrate of their knowledge and ambition, their master thesis of their ability to continue with a PhD research in Computer Science.

For more information you can contact:
Prof.dr. Tom van Engers,
Email: vanengers@uva.nl

Add comment April 23rd, 2015

Leibniz Center wins DG Justice project OpenLaws.eu

openlaws The Leibniz Center for Law, together with the Institute for Information Law (IViR) and international partners, obtained a European grant for the project OpenLaws.eu. Of the 96 proposals submitted, OpenLaws.eu finished first. The aim of the project is to use innovative resources to make law and legal information more accessible by linking and enrich these with metadata. The Leibniz Center for Law leads the consortium. Technical partners are the Fachhochschule Salzburg, Alpenite (IT) and BY WASS (Aus). IViR, together with Sussex University and the London School of Economics and Politics are responsible for the legal and economic aspects.

Add comment February 1st, 2014

Leibniz Center participates in Canadian Cyberjustice project

Cyberjustice projectThe Leibniz Center for Law already participates in the Canadian Cyberjustice project for some time in the person of prof. Joost Breuker. The project now has a web site with more information.

Add comment August 6th, 2013

Workshop Network Analysis in Law

During ICAIL 2013 a workshop on network analysis in law will be organized. For more information see this page.

Add comment March 26th, 2013

All Dutch Legislation published as CEN MetaLex and Linked Open Data

The Leibniz Center for Law of the University of Amsterdam has made all Dutch legislation available as CEN MetaLex and Linked Open Data through the MetaLex Document Server portal (MDS). “The XML source documents currently made available by the Dutch government are simply not good enough”, says Rinke Hoekstra, researcher at the Leibniz Center, and the Knowledge Representation group of the VU University Amsterdam.

The MetaLex Document Server improves over the XML API of the official portal by:

  • Providing persistent, versioned identifiers of all elements of  regulations.
  • Maintaining source XML for all versions of legislation since May 2011, rather than only the latest version.
  • All metadata is published as RDF Linked Data, is linked to the original legislative sources, and uses standard vocabularies such as the MetaLex Ontology, Dublin Core, Open Provenance Model Vocabulary, Simple Event Model, FOAF, etc.
  • All documents and metadata are available through ‘content negotiation': content can be retrieved by using the URI (identifier) of an element as a URL.
  • Metadata is accessible through a SPARQL endpoint
  • Citations between regulations are made available in a format suitable for social network analysis (Pajek/Gephi)
  • A generic conversion script for transforming any legislative XML to CEN MetaLex

For more information, have a look at the presentation on slideshare, or contact Rinke Hoekstra directly.

A report on this work will be published as part of the proceedings of the International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC) 2011: “Rinke Hoekstra. The MetaLex Document Server – Legal Documents as Versioned Linked Data”

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Add comment August 24th, 2011

Collaboration with Network Institute of the VU Amsterdam

On behalf of the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam, the Leibniz Center for Law has entered a collaboration with the Network Institute of the VU University Amsterdam.

“The Network Institute’s research mission is to come to a better scientific understanding of the emerging networked world in all its technological, economic and social aspects, and to help further its proper development.

The Network Institute brings together researchers from many different academic disciplines, including information systems, communication science, computer science, business and management research, knowledge management, marketing and strategy, economics, artificial intelligence, mathematics, and organization science.”

Collaborating with the Network Institute will allow the Leibniz Center to tap into a rich source of likeminded researchers, and at the same time brings the challenges of the field of AI and Law to the attention of a multidisciplinary research network.

For more information, please contact Rinke Hoekstra.

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Add comment August 24th, 2011

Leibniz Center in SCRIPTed

A short article about our center appeared in the August 2010 issue of SCRIPTed – A Journal of Law, Technology & Society.

Add comment August 16th, 2010

Lecture for the Amsterdam Circle for Law and Language

On Thursday May 14 2009 Radboud Winkels and Emile de Maat of the Leibniz Center for Law will give a lecture for the Amsterdam Circle for Law and Language with the title: From Legal Language to Computer Language (Van Juridische Taal naar Computertaal).
The Leibniz Center for Law develops computer models of statutes as well as methods by which the ‘translation’ from legal language to computer language may become automated. A trustworthy, neutral interpretation of the legal text, without added details, is of great importance. In the presentation the speakers will explain these ‘translation’-methods and their ‘technical’ approach to legal interpretation with examples from various areas of law.

Add comment May 11th, 2009

Kunstmatige Intelligentie en het Recht

Interview met Rinke Hoekstra, ten behoeve van de website voor aankomende studenten.

Add comment July 22nd, 2008

Misvattingen over de Bekendmakingswet

Tom van Engers reageert in de NRC van 12 juli op een opiniestuk van de hand van Frank Kuitenbrouwer (Opiniepagina, 8 juli) waarin deze de wijziging op de Bekendmakingswet bekritiseert.

Lees hier het stuk van Frank Kuitenbrouwer, en hier het stuk van Tom van Engers.

Add comment July 13th, 2008

TRIAS Telematica awarded best practice on e-Learning in Europe

The TRIAS Telematica project, coordinated by the Leibniz Center for Law, has been selected as one of the five best e-Learning practices in Europe. The methods used to arrive at this conclusion were a combination of desk research, reports and project conclusions deriving from five years, thematic discussions and the validation of conclusions and recommendations in two thematic seminars in Sofia and Copenhagen.

The aims of TRIAS Telematica are to identify the training needs of change agents, process innovators in government agencies who request rethinking of eGovernment services and to create an infrastructure for the exchange of best practices, the exchange of project leaders and students, and the exchange of qualified people among European countries.

For this purpose an e-Learning environment was developed using semantic wiki and various training methods including a simulation game.

A successor project is being planned as well as a second summer course.
For more information on the project see: http://www.triastelematica.org/

Add comment February 11th, 2008

Book Announcement: 15 Years of Knowledge Management

We are very pleased to announce the book “15 Years of Knowledge Management”, part of the series on Advances in Knowledge Management of Ergon Verlag. This book contains some significant contributions that represent different issues addressed in 15 years of Knowledge Management research.

15 Years of Knowledge ManagementAdvances in Knowledge Management Vol. 3
Schreinemakers, Jos F. (†)- van Engers, Tom M. (Eds.)
15 Years of Knowledge Management
2007. 263 p. – 150 x 225 mm. Hardcover
ISBN : 978-3-89913-580-0

The book is available through the website of the publisher Ergon Verlag.

For more information, please send an email to  Tom van Engers.

Add comment September 19th, 2007

The LVO project

The Leibniz Center for Law is part of the consortium that won the open tender for the
development of the national online all-in-one service for environmental permits
(Landelijke Voorziening Omgevingsloket, or LVO) in the Netherlands.

Continue Reading Add comment September 6th, 2007

Legislative XML Summer School (LeX)

The LeX school is an intensive, 6-day program aimed at providing knowledge of the most significant ICT standards emerging for legislation, an understanding of their impact in the different phases of the legislative process, awareness of the tools based on legislative standards, and the ability to participate in the preparation and use of standard-compliant documents throughout the participate in law-making process.

Continue Reading Add comment July 16th, 2007

LKIF Core Ontology

We are pleased to announce the release of the LKIF core ontology of basic legal concepts. This ontology was developed within the ESTRELLA project to provide a standard vocabulary for legal reasoning services on the Semantic Web, and especially the Legal Knowledge Interchange Format (LKIF).

The LKIF ontology is inspired by the commonsense orientation of the (discontinued) LRI Core ontology effort. It consists of 14 ontology modules, describing concepts that range from general concepst such as time, place, change and process to the concepts most central to the legal field such as actions, transactions, beliefs, intentions, expressions and norms.

For more information, please consult the LKIF Core ontology website, browse the online documentation, or download the ESTRELLA Deliverable 1.4.

The ontology can be loaded directly into your favorite OWL Ontology editor from: http://www.estrellaproject.org/lkif-core/lkif-core.owl

Add comment April 17th, 2007

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