Web-Based Legal Decision Support Expert System; the Case of Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Addressing legal information scarcity of the society is the major issue in guardianship of the rule of law. Legal documents play a basic role in discharging the law to the public besides constituting learning material for student, researchers and legal practitioners. Unless the legal documents present on the web is structured properly and efficient information retrieval method is used, accumulation of information merely cannot be a solution for legal information scarcity. If the legal information on the web is structured using XML, it will be very easy to retrieve a specific information from a large set of documents. If the user doesn‟t have prior legal knowledge, the user may be in problem of how to formulate a query, and how to select the best information from the retrieved set of results and how to use that information. In addition, how to combine the pieces of information to make a decision is still an annoyance for a nonprofessional person. Thus, there should be a human legal expert to assist the user on how to use the legal information to make a better legal decision, on certain legal matters. The computerized solution to address the above problem, and to assist legal decision making processes, without the involvement of a human legal expert, is to develop Legal Decision Support Expert System (LDSES). Therefore, this work is to develop LDSES in family law for the case of Ethiopia. We used Rule Based Reasoning methodology of Expert System (ES) to develop the LDSES. We made a discussion with the human legal expert and we reviewed the Ethiopian revised family code to collect the domain knowledge and then to develop the LDSES knowledge base. The general Architecture of ES has been used with some modification. We added a component called LDSES_Preprocessor on the general architecture of ES. We established a logic flow chart to develop and test the knowledge base. The LDSES_Preprocessor component helps to minimize the time the system has consumed in order to scan the large set of rules from the knowledge base. The overall performance of the proposed LDSES from summary of validation report is 87.6%. And the legal information provided by the proposed model of LDSES for making a legal decision is about 96% effective. Keywords: Legal decision support expert system model, Legal expert system, Expert system model, Decision support system model, Decision support system.



Legal Decision Support Expert System Model; Legal Expert System; Expert System Model; Decision Support System Model; Decision Support System