Article on AI-CLIC project published in AI & Law Journal

“Bringing Legal Knowledge to the Public by Constructing a Legal Question Bank Using Large-scale Pre-trained Language Model”

Published in Artificial Intelligence and Law (AI and Law) Journal, Springer Netherlands

Volume 31, Issue 2, p. 1-37, July 6, 2023

The article on the Centre’s Empowering CLIC – An AI Dialog System for Community Legal Education and Information (AI-CLIC) project was published in the Artificial Intelligence and Law (AI and Law) Journal, Volume 31, Issue 2, June 2023.  The article was written by the project team members: Mingruo Yuan, Ben Kao, Tien-Hsuan Wu, Michael M. K. Cheung, Henry W. H. Chan, Anne S. Y. Cheung, Felix W. H. Chan & Yongxi Chen.

Abstract: Access to legal information is fundamental to access to justice. Yet accessibility refers not only to making legal documents available to the public, but also rendering legal information comprehensible to them. A vexing problem in bringing legal information to the public is how to turn formal legal documents such as legislation and judgments, which are often highly technical, to easily navigable and comprehensible knowledge to those without legal education. In this study, we formulate a three-step approach for bringing legal knowledge to laypersons, tackling the issues of navigability and comprehensibility. First, we translate selected sections of the law into snippets (called CLIC-pages), each being a small piece of article that focuses on explaining certain technical legal concept in layperson’s terms. Second, we construct a Legal Question Bank, which is a collection of legal questions whose answers can be found in the CLIC-pages. Third, we design an interactive CLIC Recommender. Given a user’s verbal description of a legal situation that requires a legal solution, CRec interprets the user’s input and shortlists questions from the question bank that are most likely relevant to the given legal situation and recommends their corresponding CLIC pages where relevant legal knowledge can be found. In this paper we focus on the technical aspects of creating an LQB. We show how large-scale pre-trained language models, such as GPT-3, can be used to generate legal questions. We compare machine-generated questions against human-composed questions and find that MGQs are more scalable, cost-effective, and more diversified, while HCQs are more precise. We also show a prototype of CRec and illustrate through an example how our 3-step approach effectively brings relevant legal knowledge to the public.

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