Graphie: A network-based visual interface for the UK's primary legislation

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: legislation.gov.uk is a platform that enables users to explore and navigate the many sections of the UK’s legal corpus through its well-designed searching and browsing features. However, there is room for improvement as it lacks the ability to easily move between related sections or Acts and only presents a text-only rendering of provisions.

With Graphie, our novel navigational tool (graphie.quantlaw.co.uk), we aim to address this limitation by presenting alternative visualizations of legal documents using both text and graphs.

Methods: The building block of Graphie is Sofia, an offline data pipeline designed to support different data visualizations by parsing and modelling data provided by legislation.gov.uk in open access form.

Results: Graphie provides a network representation of the hierarchical structure of an Act of Parliament, which is typically organized in a tree-like fashion according to the content and information contained in each sub-branch. Nodes in Graphie represent sections of an Act (or individual provisions), while links embody the hierarchical connections between them. The legal map provided by Graphie is easily navigable by hovering on nodes, which are also color-coded and numbered to provide easily accessible information about the underlying content. The full textual content of each node is also available on a dedicated hyperlinked canvas.

Conclusions: While we focus on the Housing Act 2004 for illustrative purposes, our platform is scalable, versatile, and provides users with a unified toolbox to visualize and explore the UK legal corpus in a fast and user-friendly way.
Original languageEnglish
Article number236
JournalF1000Research
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • legal data science, legislation, data pipelines, network interfaces, visualization of legal texts, user interface

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