Open Source software for editing legislation


LEOS – Legislation Editing Open Software

When is this action of interest to you?

You are a member of an organization dealing with the editing or publication of legal texts. You are looking for an easy to use editing tool which provides guidance and quality control for writers. You are struggling with the formalization of legal texts. You are looking for a structured format which would enable automatic processing and interoperability between IT systems. Participation in the LEOS study will allow you to share your needs, expectations and past experiences.

What is this action about?

Drafting new legislation is a complex process, involving many actors. In most democratic countries, there are three phases in the process: the preparatory phase, the adoption phase, and the entry into force.
The objective of this action is to make this time-consuming process with its increasingly pan-European dimension more efficient.
The project sets out to analyse the tools currently used by the EU and the public administrations of Member States, national parliaments, and publication offices to create and edit their legal texts. A better understanding of the way public administrations address the issue of drafting their legislations can be useful in identifying best practices, improvements and areas where common efforts and developments are possible.
The project will identify best practices and reusable solutions and compare the potential benefits offered by Open Source Software (OSS) with those available from proprietary solutions.
On the basis of its findings, consideration will be given to the development of a generic solution to meet the common needs for drafting legal texts.

What are the objectives?

  • analysing the tools currently used by the EU and Member States’ public administrations national parliaments and publication offices to create and edit their legal texts;
  • implementing generic solutions for common needs in drafting legal texts;
  • ensuring interoperability through the automation of handling legal documents; and
  • facilitating the interconnection of legal databases and the performance of search engines.

What is our approach?

The project will be led by the Commission’s Informatics Directorate-General (DG DIGIT), with support of the Secretariat General of the Commission.
A Project Steering Committee will be set up to provide overall guidance and direction for the project with the participation of all the parties concerned.
Working groups, workshops and other appropriate meetings will be organised with the different administrations and institutions in order to gather their expertise and their requirements.
Project phases:
  • Study of the existing situation and planned projects in Member States, national parliaments, publication offices  and EU institutions, with a view to identify needs, trends, strengths, best practices and opportunities;
  • Assessment of ongoing standardisation efforts to define a common framework for the structure of legal texts;
  • Assessment of the adequacy of off-the-shelf Open Source text editing software to offer reusable solutions for drafting and editing laws;
  • Identification of the missing features and the add-ons that that might be necessary to answer the needs;
  • Depending on the conclusions of the second phase, the construction of a prototype, proof of concept, which could be tested by a few interested administrations, national parliaments and publication offices; and
  • Generalisation of the tool and the associated support.
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