The semantic representation and modeling of legal texts has for a long time been a significant research challenge. While approaches from both, software engineering and semantic modeling, have led to impressive results, some gaps are still remaining. This paper tries to bridge the gap between generalizability and applicability by combining semantic modeling with traditional software engineering processes.
A framework for drafting legislation was implemented in OWL, SWRL, various web-based technologies and Java using the Jena framework. Links to external ontologies were made via semantic relations, following the principles of linked open data. A base model including ontologies, semantic rulesets and additional algorithms were developed and amended by a general development process for implementing diverse fields of law.
The base model and process suggested in this paper were then tested in an extensive case study, which clearly documented the approaches benefits, such as increased efficiency of the modeling process, automatic consistency checking, compatibility with established standards in legal semantics, and the reusability of base classes underlying the developed models. The case study addresses curricula based on Austrian legislation in depth, which are exemplarily covered as a whole.