ELI success story: How social media make legislation part of the web

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Making sure that people have access to the laws of the country they live in is a fundamental part of any modern legal system and of the rule of law itself.

The explosion of social media has made it easier for lawyers and the general public to access and interact with the law. However, for legal information to be accessed by a broad range of users via social media, it must above all be easy to obtain.

ELI can help make it easier to read and decode legal information on the web and ensure that this information is widely publicised and used by social media. The success of the British government’s legislation.gov.uk website is a good illustration of this.

The most important thing is being able to identify specific articles of law as well as whole pieces of legislation.

Here are some examples of social media citing the legislation.gov.uk site:

  • Tweet about Current affairs
    Tweet about current affairs
  • Tweet about legal requirements
    Tweet about legal requirements
  • Tweet about definitions of legal terms
    Tweet about definitions of legal terms
  • Tweet about Policies
    Tweet about policies
  • Tweet about media
    Tweet about media
  • Tweet about specialised conversions
    Tweet about specialised conversions

ELI promotes the consumption, use and reuse of legal information in social networking and media. This enables governments, public authorities and the general public to interact directly and give each other feedback, breaking out of the more traditional types of public consultation.

We can listen in on the conversations that society is having about legislation. Moreover, we can give our own insights into specific issues with a law or argue that a particular law needs to be clearer. The use of legislation in social media is helping to make individuals better informed.

The most important factors enabling legislation to be a part of social media and the web are:

  • Precision of URIs

    From the few examples above, it is clear that people talk about legislation. The URI schema enables them to be specific by linking to the specific point of law in question.

    So from the view point of the end user, the precision of the URI schema is vital.

  • User-friendly, actionable URIs

    Discussions online about legislation are not just legal conversations. People with no legal training also discuss laws.

    Because URIs are user-friendly and actionable URIs, people from any background can find and use legislation.

    ELI makes it possible to publish legal information in open, semantic, electronic formats. These enable publishers’ websites to host the legal information while also enabling others to take the information, present it, gather views on it and give feedback in innovative ways.