Open Knowledge Conference - Law Mining Hackathon - Geneva - 16-18th September 2013 - In partnership with OKFN

At past Swiss Open Data Camps we had a few ideas around the theme of open legal data, while constantly exploring the boundaries of what we can legally do with data. We have aimed to fully understand and debate the conditions of use, while championing openness. The 2013 Law Mining Hackathon was run as a satellite workshop at the Open Knowledge Conference in Geneva. Thanks to our sponsors for making this event possible, and to all experts and participants, who made it a resounding success!

Live Projects | Initiatives | Open Challenges | Upcoming Events

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Live Projects

Case Law as a Service (CLaaS)

Many legal decisions, or case results, on national and international levels are available online – but are not accessible enough. The aims of our largest team were to create an open framework and platform architecture that allows users and diverse applications easy access to case law data. Concepts, designs, live demos and visualizations have been developed, including: Human Rights Case Laws, Case Law Linked Data, and an open search engine for the Swiss Supreme Court.

Open Law Search

This project aims to make the everyday work of law practitioners easier by making valuable resources on the Open Web easier to find. Users can search by region, type, filetype, and tags across a variety of domains especially relevant to European law. It is live and available here:

Open This Data!

A simple idea with an aim to help lift legal and technical restrictions on data, and get rapid community response to changes of terms of use. The Open Data Button is an easy, social way to share the fact that you are prevented from accessing data in some way. The project is live:

Open Privacy Legislation

Taking data protection and privacy legislation as a case study, this team assessed a range of government websites and rated them according to criteria from the Declaration of Parliamentary Openness. The resulting map of world legislative standards is here:


Open Legislation

During the hackathon we agreed to help revitalize the OKFN incumbent Working Group for Open Legislation, and one of the experts at our event has taken on moderation responsibilities. Please sign up to join in, share ideas, and broaden the debate. License Recommendations

This team discussed the legal guidelines we were using at the hackathon, and provided suggestions (in French) for making improvements to the way teams agreed on licensing conditions that could attract more varied participation and commercial support in the future.

Open Legal Data Sources

In order to help teams get started, we have started a wiki page of Open Legal Data, among which are sources of open content and inspiration.


Eleven challenges were submitted by our expert panel, which we have grouped under the following categories:

Legal Concepts

Case Law

Law Usability

Upcoming Events

Law-themed hackdays around the world – such as the BLIP Legal Hackathon and at Harvard Law School – have demonstrated the value for people familiar with legal questions, as well as participants from the crowd.

We are already discussing future law and license related hackathons – sign up to the Open Legislation mailing list to be informed of anything related to these topics, or the general list for all upcoming OKFN events.

Here are several upcoming legal hackathons around the world courtesy of Legal Informatics Blog:

Law Mining Hackathon 2013 organizers

Dr. Christian Laux,

Oleg Lavrovsky,

Prof. Jean-Henry Morin, University of Geneva


Makers get things done – and what they do counts, their efforts bring real change. Your ideas and competence are in high demand to shape the future of how we deal with data in the interconnected world. To participate in this camp everyone is qualified, no matter what level of expertise you have with the Web, programming, or Information Technology. Have a look at some of the general profiles of people who tend to take part at hackdays, and come along even if this is something you’ve never done before! If you have colleagues in these areas, please invite them to join in.

The most important is to be there early, as projects and teams will start forming in the morning. Of course, you’ll be able to join an existing group at any point in the hackathon, but being there from the start gives you the best chance to speak up about your ideas in the brainstorm, excite others about what you care about, become a valued core member and contributor. So check the schedule, get a good night’s sleep, and get down to the hackathon ready to make history!

The very first thing we’ll ask you to do is tick a checkmark on your Maker Badge. It lets you begin by making a statement to your fellow participants: here is what I am interested in, here is the role I want to have on the team. If you’re struggling to decide what role to take up (as newcomers often do!), talk about your concerns to the first person you see, or come see one of the friendly event staff.


  • people like us who want to make improvements in their community
  • public officials who wish to help advance open access for e-government
  • subject matter experts who have data and want to collaborate and share it: for this Open Data Camp,  these would often be people with experience in the topics of legal information, the law online, digital legislation


  • find out about the evolving information visualization discipline
  • use the opportunity to build skills while having fun with graphics
  • get involved in the openness movement for fame and glory on the Web


  • learn tools and techniques for accessing public data sources
  • collaborate with designers and experts on creating exciting applications
  • you do not need to be a programmer, data is a powerful tool that everyone can use


University of Geneva

Open Knowledge Conference 2013