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Subject: Re: [legaldocml] Bills and Acts

On 2/7/13 6:31 PM, monica.palmirani wrote:
Dear Grant,

So we decided in AKOMA to use a different approach: to use neutral categories coming from the theory of law and not from a list of document nomenclature, list that each country could interpreted in different way. Example: US uses "bill" with a particular meaning in a such particular step of the process, but in Australia bill has a different meaning, and also in California bill is different respect House of Representative bill, and in UK the same, without to speak in Italy (we have several different bills: from government, from parliament, from people, from regions).

So let me start on the fact that we used more abstract categories coming from the theory of law: LAW, ACT and BILL (uppercase) belong to general theory of law definitions in this sense and not represent "the bill" "the act" as concrete document in a country tradition.

Sorry, but I must agree with Grant on this matter -- to the point of insistence.  This is not a philosophical point; it's a pragmatic political issue.  The people that we wish to adopt AkomaNtoso need to find it recognizable. You may argue all you want that you have, for sound reasons, chosen a single term to serve as an abstraction covering many.  But if they hear something used generally for which there is a specific meaning, they will doubt your expertise and the soundness of the standard.  To them, it sounds as though you're pointing at a cow and telling them it's a chair, when in fact you've chosen "chair" to mean "all things beginning with the letter c".

That is particularly so when you jump branches. Grant has a horror of referring to resolutions as "bills";  I suspect it will be even worse if you refer to an executive branch document like a proposed rule (regulation) or an ANPRM (advance notice of proposed rulemaking) as a "bill".

Put another way, all the arguments that have led you to allow localization of the names of nested elements for text structure (parts, sections, chapters, etc) apply to this as well.

I believe it needs to be fixed, not as an intellectual matter, but as a matter of credibility with the people we are trying to persuade to use the standard.

All  the best,
Thomas R. Bruce
Director, Legal Information Institute
Cornell Law School
twitter: @trbruce

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