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Subject: XForms and contract semantics


Please find attached a discussion paper on the role XForms may play in 
our work, which should be useful background to our discussions of 
semantics and overall requirements at the TC teleconf next week.

The thrust of the paper explores how we can leverage and work with 
existing standards such as:

- insurance: ACORD (www.acord.org) XML standards for life, property & 
casualty, and re-insurance

- financial products such as swaps/derivatives: ISDA's FpML

- real property / mortage industry

For ease of reference/discussion, i've extracted the conclusions below.

kind regards


1.The XForms binding concept and its <output> element allows us to 
associate eContracts structure with existing vertical industry schemas

2.This simply works if the words of the contract which we wish to markup 
appear as PCDATA in the vertical industry schema

3.XForms is a natural approach, since we’re using XHTML2 for structure.

4.If the data (eg date) is stored in the vertical industry schema in 
another format, then a mechanism for reformatting it is required.

5.Sometimes there is an “impendance mismatch” between the vertical 
industry schema and the text of the contract.  This means that that 
particular vertical industry schema does not capture the semantics of 
the contract in a way a lawyer would expect and/or the contract doesn’t 
contain all the terms the vertical industry schema anticipates.

6.The legal significance of the data contained in the vertical industry 
schema needs to be discussed – particularly where it isn’t reflected in 
the text if the contract.

7.The eContracts TC should contact various of the vertical industry 
standards groups to establish their interest in exploring this approach 

8.Legal semantic markup can be distinguished from the data vertical 
industry schemas typically capture.  The XForms approach can be extended 
to accommodate legal semantic markup in a natural way.

9.XForms allows multiple semantic schemas to co-exist in the one 
document.  This is likely to be useful, particularly if the eContracts 
TC creates a Contract Semantic Markup Schema to augment the existing 
vertical industry schemas.


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