Legal Document Editing Tool WIth Verifiable Links to Precedent Documents
Publication Date: 2017-Aug-04
The IP.com Prior Art Database
Legal Document Editing Tool with Verifiable Links to Precedent Documents
In law precedent is all. The idea documented here makes it easier for a lawyer to identify the relevant precedent for a legal document and also easier for a judge to judge the intent of lawyers when writing a legal document.
References to case law are evidenced in a way that can be verified as accurate, unadulterated and not superceded by subsequent judgements.
The structured document takes the form of a hierarchy of text references and additions, each of which has its source and compositional integrity verifiable by the use of a tree of machine checkable hashcode references, where each hashcode includes as input data the hashcodes of embedded entities, transitively down to leaf elements that either come from (along with their hashcodes) trusted sources of case or statute law or are verifiable as original text signed cryptographically by the author.
Each node contains a hashcode that is formed over the data for that node and the hashcodes of all child nodes and each node is signed cryptographically.
Any changes will ultimately need to be represented in the top level hashcode in the root node (which contains the document identifier and version number) for the document to pass machine checking.
Such a document can be machine checked so that all cited references can be trusted and all original text can be attributed and can also be consumed in an easy to read document that can be 'live' and provide hypermedia features where links can be followed if read on a computer system by means of a custom program or generated web-page.
The core idea is a word processor linked to an online repository of legal documents. When writing a document a layer might choose to import a section or paragraph from an existing document. The link to the origin is preserved so that at any future point a reader such as a lawyer or judge could enter a view mode to see a complete list of every document that shares that section of text. If those documents were tested in court, and the results of those court cases. Thus, one could quickly identify all relevant precedent and also testify in court that you and the other party's lawyers knew about this precedent and that knowledge can be used to demonstrate intent.
The repository of legal documents splits the documents into sections or paragraphs or sentences of text that provide for a minimum sequence where a legal meaning is conveyed and which should not be split further. Each such paragraph is hashed into a hashcode and the hashcode is cryptographically signed using the private key of the database provider. Any software can verify the hashcode is from the software database provider and the that the hash is for the whole unchanged text.
Original paragraphs are similarly hashed and signed with the private key of the author of the text.
If paragraphs are edited by a user with a different hashcode, the original text is maintained in the structured document dat...